Are you ready to enjoy the great outdoors?

The seven principles of "Leave No Trace " will help keep the great outdoors for everyone to enjoy.

  • Plan ahead and prepare

  • Travel & camp on durable surfaces

  • Dispose of waste properly

  • Leave what you find

  • Be fire smart

  • Respect wildlife

  • Be considerate of others

Plan Ahead And Prepare

If you prepare, you're less likely to make poor choices that could damage the environment or ruin your trip. This means you:

  • Know the area's regulations for outdoor activities

  • Are prepared for different types of weather

  • Avoid busy times when the area might be crowded

  • Visit the area in small groups

  • Minimize food waste

  • Have a map or GPS of the area (there might not be cell service!)

Camping gear packed into large camping backpack

Travel And Camp On Durable Surfaces

Lots of people can damage wilderness areas, spread weeds, and ruin it for the next group! When you're camping or hiking, make sure to:

  • Use existing trails and campsites

  • Camp at least 200 ft. away from water sources

  • Keep campsites small

  • Walk in the middle of the trail (not on the edges, even if it's muddy)

Trail runners jog down a road

Quiz

Erin is picking a campsite and wants to minimize her impact. What should she do?

Set up camp 3 feet from the lake

Find a site that's far enough inland

Dig out rocks to make her campsite flat

Camp on the side of a rocky mountain

Dispose Of Waste Properly

This means don't litter but also applies to human waste and dish water. When camping overnight, be sure to:

A cartoon character digs a hole in the woods

  • Always leave the place cleaner than you found it!

  • Dispose of human waste in a hole 6-8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water

  • Pack out used toilet paper

  • Use biodegradable soap, and scatter used dishwater

Be Fire Smart

Always check if fires are permitted where you're camping — just because others have a fire, doesn't mean it's allowed! Wildfires can cost millions of dollars, and destroy forests and lives.

A small fire burns inside a metal fire ring

  • Use established fire rings or mounds — don't build your own

  • Always have water nearby

  • Keep fires small

  • Buy firewood locally

  • Put out campfires completely

Leave What You Find

You're a guest in the outdoors — respect it!

An animated animal with the text

  • Don't touch cultural or historic sites

  • Leave rocks & plants where you find them

  • Clean off shoes and tires between trips — this helps prevent weeds from spreading!

  • Don't build forts or dig trenches

Respect Wildlife

Help wildlife stay wild! Once animals become used to people, they become more dangerous. Some areas require bear bags, canisters, or boxes — keeping food in your car or tent might not be safe!

A cartoon bear steals a picnic basket

  • Never feed animals

  • Give animals a safe distance if you see them

  • Store your trash securely — you don't want to attract hungry animals in the night

  • Control your pets at all times — don't let them chase wildlife

Quiz

You see a bear on the trail! What should you do?

Back away slowly — don't run!

Climb a tree

Approach it slowly

Throw it your sandwich

Be Considerate Of Others

Chances are, other people may be sharing the same wild spaces and places you are — treat others as you'd like to be treated.

  • Respect others' space

  • Yield the trail if you don't have right of way

  • Camp away from trails and other visitors

  • Avoid loud voices or music

A man puts a finger on another mans lips. The caption reads

Take Action

A park ranger tapping his hat

Be a great user of wild spaces and keep them wild for years to come!

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This Byte has been authored by

DP

D'Jeane Peters

Creative, Cross Cultural ID and HPT Practitioner