Leave No Trace (LNT) is both a set of practical rules to protect wilderness and an educational program to teach the rules and increase awareness of them. The program is described on the LNT Website. The following text is taken from LNT and reprinted with their permission.
The mission of the Leave No Trace (LNT) program is to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research, and partnerships. The program is managed by LNT Inc., a nonprofit organization located in Boulder, Colorado. LNT Inc. oversees memberships, marketing, fund-raising and program-development efforts. The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) maintains the educational component of Leave No Trace by offering LNT educational courses, developing educational materials and supporting the efforts of course graduates who teach LNT to the public.
The Leave No Trace message is more than a campaign for clean campsites. It's a program dedicated to building awareness, appreciation, and most of all, respect for our public recreation places. LNT is about enjoying the great outdoors while traveling and camping with care.
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. Split larger parties into groups of 4-6.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
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.
- In popular areas:
Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
Keep campsites small.
Focus activities 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.
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.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Campfires cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. 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.
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.
Visit the Leave No Trace website. - © Leave No Trace, Inc.