Seven principles of Leave No Trace

1. Plan ahead and prepare

This means knowing the rules and regulations for the areas one is using. It also looks like knowing the area and using maps to avoid having to flag and use marking paint. Being prepared helps eliminate waste.

2. Travel and camp on durable surface

LNT says, “Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.” Keeping a campsite small and using sites already in use is most beneficial for reducing impact.

3. Dispose of waste properly

A common motto for backpackers practicing LNT is “pack it in, pack it out.” This is a waste elimination tactic that means anything one brings on the trails, they must take back with them as well, including any trash. This also means disposing of human waste or washing dishes or yourself at least 200 feet away from a water source.

4. Leave what you find

This principle is about leaving nature the way it was created and not taking anything found along the trails. Some may think that building structures such as a shelter or trench is ok, but according to this principle that is increasing human impact.

5. Minimize campfire impacts

The impact of campfires can last for many years. LNT says 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.

6. Respect wildlife

Observe wildlife from a distance. Feeding wildlife can be harmful to them, causing damage to their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.

7. Be considerate of other visitors

It is important for backpackers and others using the trail to help others enjoy their experience as well. “Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises,” says.