The following is a selection from the Leave No Trace Seven Principles. © 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.
The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace
We at Van Adieu, (Todd, MLC and I) believe that God gave us the world and all the beauty in it. We have a responsibility to do our best to be good stewards of this Earth, and take care of the gift He has given us.
The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace are the bedrock of the Leave No Trace program. It’s important that you know that the 7 Principles of Leave No Traceare for kids too! They provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts. The principles have been adapted so they can be applied in your backyard or your backcountry.
If you are interested in learning more, click on each heading which will take you to the Leave No Trace website where you can learn even more!
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
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Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- In popular areas:
Dispose of Waste Properly
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
Leave What You Find
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches. (My own personal opinion is that this includes rock cairns – those little rock stacking structures you see along paths).
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
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Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
If you are interested in showing the world that you believe in LNT, or if you would like to look into products that help you fulfill the principles of LNT, then just look at the bottom of this post for some great suggestions you can purchase and try!
Remember that this world is made for our benefit, but it is not a disposable commodity. It is one that requires our constant attention and care. We owe it to God, and the generations that will come after us to preserve it the best that we can. Have you had any experiences that made you think differently about 7 Principles of Leave No Trace?
And out of sheer curiosity, what do you think of the Rock Cairns that people leave behind? Is there anything else you would add to Leave No Trace? We would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below!
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