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Leave No Trace

Hikers Descending Grassy SlopeLearn as much as possible about the area you are planning to visit. This will determine the appropriate food, clothing, equipment, and transportation needed for the trip. Pack lightweight, non-odorous foods. Dress in layers and bring small reliable camp stoves and wind-proof tents. Clothing and equipment should be able to withstand rigorous use in prolonged wet and windy conditions. Prepare for bad weather and pack extra food and clothing in case your transportation home is delayed. 

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Travel in smaller groups and visit less popular areas to minimize contact with others and to enhance wildlife viewing opportunities. Confine your travel and camping areas to surfaces that are resistant to impact. In popular or high-use areas, concentrate your use. This will help preserve the natural condition of the surroundings. In remote and low-use areas, spread out your use. Choose a camping site that is naturally durable, such as sand or gravel.

Pack It In, Pack It Out

Trash has no place in the backcountry. Pack out all of your garbage, including cigarette butts, ammunition casings, and all non-burnable trash. Properly dispose of what you can’t pack out. Avoid contaminating water sources by camping, washing, and using the toilet at least 200 feet from all water bodies. Bury human waste at least six inches deep and well away from camp. Use toilet paper sparingly and burn it or pack it out.

Minimize the Use and Impact of Fires

Use lightweight camp stoves when possible. If a fire is needed, keep it small, use a fire pan, and burn only dead and downed wood. Put out campfires completely and pack out all unburned trash.

Leave What You Find

People come to wildlands to enjoy them in their natural state. Leave plants, rocks, and archaeological and cultural evidence as you find them. Archaeological artifacts are protected by law; do not disturb or remove them. 

Take pride in your public wildlands. By using responsible backcountry techniques, there should be little or no sign of your visit when you are ready to leave.
Page Photo Credits — Hikers Descending Grassy Slope, SCA/USFWS
Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014
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