Leave No Trace Camping and Hiking

Learn to be a respectful camper, follow these guidelines to ensure better camping and hiking for others in the future.

| May 2018

The Great Outdoors (Artisan Books, 2017) by Brendan Leonard, can be a great study tool for those looking to do more outdoor exploring. This guide can teach readers about safety precautions to make before embarking on a journey and necessary steps that need to be made. Find this excerpt in Chapter 1, “Man versus Wild.”

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has, since 1994, educated people about their recreational impacts on nature. Use their seven guiding principles to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Give yourself enough time to hike in and reach proper campsites. If you don’t plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to find a good spot, you can run out of daylight and have to set up a camp in a spot that’s less sustainable (and less comfortable).

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: In high-use areas, use already existing sites; in remote areas, spread out to minimize impact. If everyone who visited an alpine lake, for example, used a brand-new campsite, the lake would eventually be surrounded in barren spots with fire rings next to them. Use a spot that’s already been camped in.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out): Pack out all trash, scatter dishwater far from water sources, and bury human waste.

4. Leave What You Find: Leave the things you find for others to enjoy—don’t pocket rocks, wildflowers, or archaeological artifacts. Stealing a potsherd from an ancient site alters the site, making it less enjoyable for future visitors.

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