OUR GUIDE TO A
LEAVE NO TRACE SUMMER
The weather is heating up, the days are getting longer, and over at HQ, we’re starting to buzz with plans for summer excursions. Visions of new campsites, swimming holes, and mountain peaks dance in our heads, and we’re willing to bet we’re not alone. But with sweet summertime comes real responsibility: when it comes to outdoor recreation, taking care of the earth is paramount. We’ve all heard the term “Leave No Trace” before, but not everyone knows that there’s more to it than a catchy slogan.
LNT is a set of principles introduced by the US Forest Service in the ‘60s to educate people on sustainability in the outdoors. Decades later, they’re just as relevant. Today, exploring the backcountry demands more responsibility than ever, as many of our country’s postcard-worthy wilderness destinations are at risk of being loved to death (or at least degradation). With the increasing reach of our already Bigfoot-sized human footprint, truly remote and untouched areas are rare and precious, and the only way they’ll stay that way is if we all leave no trace.
Because it’s on us to do all that we can to protect our wild places. And it’s not hard—it takes only small changes to make a sizable impact. Step one: the LNT principles. Next time you pull on a pair of hiking boots or load up the gas tank for a camping trip, make sure to keep these easy guidelines top of mind.
• Read up on the regulations and special concerns at your destination.
• Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies.
• Repackage your food to reduce waste.
• Stay on existing trails and campsites.
• Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
• Keep campsites small, and try not to crush plants with your tent.
• This one’s simple: pack it in, pack it out!
• Admire flowers without picking them.
• Avoid tracking around non-native species.
• Make sure fires are permitted (pay attention to Smokey and research fire bans).
• Don’t bring firewood from home, it can transport new pests and diseases.
• Oftentimes, someone made a fire ring before you came around—use it.
Be 150% sure your fire is completely out, then scatter the cool ashes.
• Don’t try to make friends. Admire animals from a distance.
• Store food and trash securely.
• Remember YOU are the visitor in someone else’s home!
• Avoid loud voices and noises.
• Follow traffic rules and yield to other hikers on the trail.