Camping: Leave No Trace

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is dedicated to promoting responsible outdoor recreation through education.

Here are the seven principles that form the foundation of Leave No Trace:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare. Know the regulations and special considerations for the area you'll visit. Prepare for extreme weather and emergencies.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces. Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. Good trails and campsites are found, not made.
  3. Dispose of waste properly. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes. Use small amounts of biodegradable soap.
  4. Leave what you find. Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. Do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts. Be sure that campfires are permitted. Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Use established fire rings or fire pans.
  6. Respect wildlife. Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow, approach or feed the animals.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors. Be courteous: yield to others on the trail and avoid loud noises and voices.

By practicing these principles, you'll gain a renewed respect for the outdoors – and you'll be doing your part to preserve natural areas so that they will be there for you and others to enjoy well into the future.

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