Are you familiar with the phrases “Leave No Trace” or “Tread Lightly”?
If you spend any time in the great outdoors, you should know these phrases and what they mean. They provide guidelines we should follow to enjoy and protect our natural spaces.
Our increasing love for nature impacts outdoor areas which suffer from litter, invasive species, habituated wildlife, trail erosion, polluted water sources and more. We hope the harm occurring to our natural surroundings isn’t intentional, but simply a lack of knowledge or overlooking important behaviors that protect the outdoors.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics uses The Leave No Trace Seven Principles (© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.) to communicate the best available minimum impact guidance for enjoying the outdoors responsibly.
These principles can be applied anywhere from the back-country to local parks and backyards, and for any recreational activity. Each Principle covers a specific topic and provides detailed information for minimizing impacts.
Please remember these are not rules and regulations, only guidelines to help shape and direct your actions as you enjoy the great outdoors!
Plan ahead and prepare.
Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
Dispose of waste properly.
Leave what you find.
Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
Be considerate of other visitors.
Proper planning helps you avoid unexpected situations, understand and follow local regulations and enjoy the experience.
Did you know lightning is a big concern in the summer months at Bryce Canyon National Park? Read more about Lightning Safety at Bryce Canyon.
By concentrating activity to durable surfaces, damage to vegetation is minimized.
In popular areas:
In pristine areas:
Did you know impacted areas of the cryptobiotic soil at Arches National Park may never recover? Read more about the ‘Disturbed Lands’ at Arches.
This principle applies to everything from litter to human waste to rinse water.
Source: Fix.com Blog
–The Boy Scouts of America website details each point regarding disposing of waste properly.
–Amy Whitley writes about Leaving No Trace During Outdoor Family Adventures.
The adage “take only pictures, leave only footprints” still holds, although leaving fewer footprints is even better.
Did you know it is illegal to remove natural objects, such as antlers, rocks and flowers, from National Parks and other protected areas or disturb archaeological sites or take artifacts from public lands?
It is your responsibility to understand the laws and regulations of the areas you visit.
To me, a campfire is just part of the experience. But, there are some times and places when it’s best to do without.
Don’t approach animals.
Both you and the wildlife will enjoy encounters more if you master the zoom lens on your camera and pack along a pair of binoculars.
Keep wildlife Wild.
Did you know it is illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within ANY distance that disturbs or displaces the animal?
Did you know that tourists are getting wild animals killed? Read about Wildlife Viewing at the National Park Service Yellowstone website. Read the article ‘How Tourists Are Getting Wild Animals Killed’ by James Sisti on The Outbound Collective website.
Treat others the way you would like to be treated” is a rule that applies in the outdoors, too.
Did you know the sounds of nature don’t include music, a cell phone ringing, or people yelling between camp sites?
Preserve the experience for others by leaving electronics at home and singing your favorite tunes in your head. Walk over to a friend and talk quietly to keep the noise level down.
Tread Lightly! and its partners lead a national initiative to protect and enhance recreation access and opportunities by promoting outdoor ethics to heighten individuals’ sense of good stewardship.
Tread Lightly!’s goal is to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation with the need to maintain healthy ecosystems and thriving populations of fish and wildlife.
The scope of their work includes nearly every form of outdoor recreation including, but not limited to hunting, recreational shooting, fishing, boating and promoting safe and responsible use of motorized and mechanized vehicles in the outdoors.
T = Travel Responsibly
R = Respect the Rights of Others
E = Educate Yourself
A = Avoid Sensitive Areas
D = Do Your Part
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