7 Leave No Trace Principles to Protect the Environment and Yourself

You have likely heard the phrase “leave no trace” when camping, hiking, or performing other outdoor activities. The seven principles to leave no trace will protect the environment, yourself, and others enjoying nature. Remember these the next time you leave for another adventure.

Seven Principles to Help You Remember to Leave No Trace

1. Plan

Planning is crucial to make your trip as environmentally friendly as possible as well as low-stress. Be aware of any regulations to the area you are visiting, as well as times of high use. Prepare for extreme weather and repackage food beforehand to cut down on unnecessary waste.

2. Use Durable Surfaces

In popular areas, use trails and designated campsites because the ground will be stable. Camp at least 200 feet away from bodies of water. In other areas that rarely have traffic, stay away from spots already showing signs of wear. The idea is to leave no trace, so try not to change the environment.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

For most places, whatever you bring in to the area, you need to take it back out. This includes food waste, trash, recyclables, and sometimes even human waste. It is also important to store your food and waste properly during your stay so animals do not get into it. If you need to clean anything, use biodegradable soap at least 200 feet away from the water source.

4. Leave Findings

This is a big part of the leave no trace idea. Leave trees, rocks, and other natural objects as they are. Do not destroy any of the plants, dig large holes or trenches, or build anything. Leave nature as it is so you do not disrupt the habitat. If you really want a souvenir, take a picture.

5. Be Smart with Fire

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Image Source: Pixabay

If fires are permitted in the area you are visiting, use designated rings or pits for fires. Keep them small and only use wood you find there (because wood from another area may bring invasive species and diseases). Supervise those around the fire, especially children and pets. Always make sure you extinguish fires entirely to prevent any fires from spreading.

6. Appreciate Wildlife

Once again, you can achieve the idea of “leave no trace” by leaving the wildlife alone. You can observe them from a distance and take pictures, but do not approach them or feed them. Feeding them can be extremely damaging because the food may not be a part of their diet or it may disrupt their natural behaviors. It is especially important to give the local wildlife space while they are in the mating season or raising young.

7. Be Considerate of Others

There are many more than just you that enjoy nature and participating in outdoor activities. Be courteous to them by camping away from them and keeping all of your garbage to yourself. Monitor your pets so they do not harass them, and do not make excessive, loud noises. All of you can enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer.

Conclusion

Make your outdoor trips memorable and environmentally friendly this summer by following the seven leave no trace principles. This will ensure your safety as well as the safety of the plants and animals around you. Just by reading this, you are better prepared for your next trip. Share with others so they can help protect each other and the environment too.

Image Source: Pixabay

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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