Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace | Photo Credit: c/o Unsplash

Outdoor Ethics

The following backcountry travel tips are based on principles developed by the national "Leave No Trace" program. For more details, contact LNT at 1-800-332-4100 or visit their website at

Plan Ahead and Prepare:

Plan ahead by considering your goals and those of your group. Prepare by gathering information, communicating expectations, and acquiring the technical skill, first aid knowledge, and equipment to the trip right.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces:

In high use areas, concentrate activity within established campsites and trails where additional use causes little impact. Avoid making parallel trails, cutting switchbacks, or widening trails. In remote areas, travel in groups of no more than six people. Hike and camp on surfaces such as rock, sand, gravel, and snow.

Pack It In, Pack It Out:

Repackage food to conserve space and minimize potential litter. Pack out all trash, including food waste, as animals can become accustomed to and dependent on unnatural food sources.

Dispose of Waste Properly:

Properly dispose of human waste. Use vault and compost toilets where available. In glacial areas, pack out human waste - the "blue bag" system or other commercial options are available. Check with ranger station for details. In forested areas, dig a "cathole" 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) deep in organic soil at least 200 ft (61 m) from water, trails, and camp. Urinate on rock or bare soil. Waste water from dishwashing, cooking, bathing, or laundry should be scattered at least 200 ft (61 m) from camps and water sources.

Leave What You Find:

Do not alter campsites by trenching around tents or building walls, tables, or lean-tos; dismantle excessive user-built facilities such as multiple fire rings. Avoid damaging live trees and plants. Leave flowers, natural objects, and cultural artifacts for others to enjoy.

Minimize Campfire Impacts:

Use campstoves instead of fires. If you do build a fire: bring a fire pan or build a mound fire, collect small pieces of dead or downed wood, know current regulations and weather concerns, and do not leave until the wood is cool enough to hold.