Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit. Travel in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4-6. Use a map and compass to eliminate the need for tree blazes, rock cairns, or ribbons. Repackage food into reusable containers. Prepare for all types of weather and be prepared for emergencies.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

On the trail. Stay on designated trails. Walk in the middle of the path. Do not cut switchbacks. When traveling cross-country, choose the most durable surface available - i.e. rock, gravel, dry grasses, sand, or snow.

At camp. Good campsites are found; not made. Altering a site should not be necessary. Choose established, legal campsites that will not be damaged by your stay. Keep pollutants out of water sources by camping at least 200 ft. from lakes and streams.

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; including banana/orange peels and apple cores. Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 ft. from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. Pack out all toilet paper and hygiene products. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 ft. away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

Preserve the past. Do not damage historical structures or remove 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 can cause lasting impacts on the backcountry. Consider carrying a lightweight stove for cooking or enjoying a candle lantern for light. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Keep fires small. Use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash. Put out campfires completely. Scatter cool ashes.

Respect Wildlife

Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Never feed wild 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. Keep pets under control at all times.

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 trail when encountering pack stock. Take breaks on durable surfaces away from the trail. Let nature's sounds prevail. Keep noise levels to a minimum.

Frontcountry Principles of Leave No Trace

Know Before You Go

Stick to Trails and Camp Overnight Right

Trash Your Trash and Pick Up Poop

Leave It as You Find It

Be Careful with Fire

Keep Wildlife Wild

Share Our Trails and Manage Your Pet

Common Impacts


Trampled Vegetation

Visitor-Created Trails

Forest Fires

Wildlife Habituated to Human Food

Conflicts Between User-Groups

Vandalized Cultural/Historical Sites

Contaminated Lakes and Streams

Names Carved in Trees