I Love Green

Leave No Trace 7 Principles

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter March Outdoor Living Newsletter
Beautiful mountain landscape
Leave nature's beauty as pristine as you find it

As outdoors enthusiasts, campers and RVers are more aware than others of the negative impact human recreation leaves on the environment. We need to proactively take measures to protect and preserve our precious resources to sustain them for future generations. One new philosophy that defines 7 principles for doing so is the Leave No Trace Movement.

Established by the Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics, an educational, non-profit organization, the concept is simple. It says that you should leave a natural area as good or better than the condition in which you found it. You should try your best to minimize unavoidable impacts such as trampling, and prevent avoidable impacts by storing food properly and disposing human waste in an appropriate manner. The primary focus of the Center's efforts is on spreading awareness of eco sustainability through education.

The Leave No Trace 7 Principles are:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare - When planning your trip take into consideration a number of factors such as the group's skill sets, weather, terrain, and rules. By planning properly you will be adequately prepared to avoid mishaps and reach the trip's goals.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces - As per this principle, campers should stick to established trails and campsites. Set up camp on hard dry ground at least 200 feet from water bodies.
  3. Dispose of waste properly - Trash, leftover food and hygiene products should be packed out. Human waste should be disposed of in 6 to 8 inch deep catholes at least 200 feet away from lakes and streams. The same distance should be maintained when washing yourself or dishes.
  4. Leave what you find - Leave natural wonders of nature such as rocks or vegetation as you find them to allow many more visitors to enjoy the same vistas and to protect the fragile ecological balance of the area.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts - Try and use a lightweight camping stove for cooking as campfires cause damage to vegetation and create an excessive demand for firewood. Only create a fire where it is allowed and within fire pans, fire rings and mound fires.
  6. Respect wildlife - Observe wildlife from a distance. Never follow or feed them and always store food and trash well away from their reach. This principle is for the protection of humans and animals alike.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors - Respect other visitors. Your activities should not detract from their outdoors experience. Be polite, yield way and always keep noise levels to a minimum. Let the sweet sounds of nature reign.
Leave No Trace logo
Leave No Trace logo

By following the Seven Principles of the Leave No Trace Movement you can ensure your next camping trip will be environmentally friendly, people friendly, and most importantly enjoyable. It's a win-win for everyone, especially our future generations.

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles have been reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: LNT.org.

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