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 Leaving the roads behind, visitors can enjoy backcountry camping at its finest, with serene vistas, hidden meadows and soaring viewpoints waiting to be discovered.  Planning is a must in the Great Land, so consult this and other resources before heading out on your adventure.

Tips for Outdoor Safety 

Backcountry Emergencies

Here are some tips to ensure a safe and comfortable hike while out on the trail. Unpredictable weather, bears, injuries, and getting lost can turn a leisurely day on the trail into a potential disaster. To prevent problems, be ready for anything. Bring extra food and water, appropriate clothing, first aid kit, and safety equipment. Use common sense. A cool head in a stressful situation can usually prevent things from turning from bad to worse. Before you set off on your adventure, learn about your proposed route (trail conditions, terrain, etc...) and leave a trip plan with a family member or trusted friend.

Selecting a Campsite

When choosing a place to set up camp, there are several different things to take into consideration. While camping on the refuge, use sites that have previously been used, rather than creating new ones. Ideally, these sites should be 200 feet from water sources, out of sight from other trail users, and on durable terrain with little vegetation. When leaving a site, be certain to pack out all trash and clean up as much as possible in order to make it appealing to the next group that comes along. This will help to reduce the number of areas that are impacted.

Human Waste

While in the backcountry, it is important that human waste is properly disposed of for both sanitary and aesthetic reasons. This can be accomplished by burying waste in a hole several inches deep at least 200 feet from water and well off hiking trails. Toilet paper should be packed in a sealable plastic bag. Be sure to replace dirt and leaf cover over the hole.


Please be certain to pack out all of your trash as well as anyone else's trash you might find while in the wilderness. You can significantly cut down on the amount of garbage you produce by removing excess packaging and bringing food in plastic bags. Also be sure to remove any half-burned items from your fire ring.

Minimum Impact

An increasing number of people venture into the wilderness each year, we must each take steps to protect it. The objectives of minimum impact hiking and camping techniques are to leave an area in the same or even better condition than we found it.

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2013
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