Leave No Trace

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For the Leave No Trace award, see Leave No Trace (Award).


Leave No Trace is an outdoor code of ethics. The principles of Leave No Trace are as follows:

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impact
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors

Plan ahead and prepare

Some things you will want to plan and prepare for before you leave on a trip are as follows:

  • Check the weather forecast
  • Make sure you know the rules and regulations of the area
  • Know the anticipated food consumption
  • Make a meal plan
  • Make a duty roster
  • Identify your trip's goal
  • Make sure you have brought the essential outdoor tools
  • Know the ability level of your unit's members

Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Prepare corrcetly for different types of terrain.

  • Rock, gravel
    • Very durable
    • Can tolerate repeated trampling
  • Snow
    • The effect of trampling is temporary, making it a good surface
    • Make sure you have dressed correctly
  • Vegetation
    • Vegetation varies in sturdiness
    • Select areas with sparse vegetation
  • Desert puddles/mud holes
    • Do not walk through these. Water is a precious resource in the desert.

Dispose of waste properly

  • Do not bury trash!
  • Strain dishwater and broadcast the strained water over a wide area at least 200 feet from the nearest water source.

Leave what you find

  • Preserve the past! Give others the save opportunity you had to find things.
  • Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize campfire impact

  • Campfires can leave a lasting impact on the environment.
    • Use a lightweight stove for cooking
    • Use a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire areas.
  • Keep fires small, use only sticks that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cooled ashes.

Respect wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals! Feeding animals can alter their feeding behaviors, making them prone to loss of food and predators. Animals can become dependent on humans for food.
  • Store rations and food securely.
  • Control pets at all times. If possible, leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times.
    • Mating season
    • Nesting
    • Raising young
    • Winter

Be considerate of other visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to others 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.

External links

Teaching Leave No Trace

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