Leave No Trace Principles and Why They are Important
The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) provide an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors.
Although Leave No Trace has its roots in backcountry settings, the Principles have been adapted so that they can be applied anywhere — from remote wilderness areas, to local parks and even in your own backyard. They also apply to almost every recreational activity. Each Principle covers a specific topic and provides detailed information for minimizing impacts.
The Seven Principles are well established and widely known, but they are not static. Leave No Trace continually examines, evaluates and reshapes the Principles. The organization’s Education Department conducts research — including publishing scholarly articles in independent journals — to ensure that the Principles are up to date with the latest insights from biologists, land managers and other leaders in outdoor education.
The Seven Leave No Trace Principles Are:
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare - have a plan and pack 10 essentials. Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies.
2. Leave What You Find - Take only memories and photographs (do not disturb plants, animals, fossils or artifacts). Leave only footsteps.
3. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces - Stick to trails and camp at established sites.
4. Minimize Campfire Impacts - Only where permitted and destroy any trace
5. Respect Wildlife - Don't feed any wild animals and observe at a distance. Keep your pet on a leash. This keeps your pet safe and lessens the potential disturbance to other hikers and wildlife.
6. Dispose of Waste Properly - Pack out your trash and bury your human waste.
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors - Yield to other trail users and avoid loud noises