There’s nothing worse than coming across a pile of used toilet paper in the backcountry or the remains of a big, messy campfire complete with partially melted beer cans. We’re big proponents of Leave No Trace – even on day hikes on the trails around town – to help keep the outdoors safe and clean for all users. Most people have heard of at least some of the LNT basics – Pack It In, Pack It Out, camp at least 200 ft. from a water source, and leave what you find – but many of the lesser known tenants are equally as important. Here are a few easy ones to try on your next hike.
Walk or bike on durable surfaces to reduce your impact upon the land. When there’s a trail, stay on it and avoid widenng it by hiking to either side of it. Rock, sand and gravel are all durable surfaces as are ice and snow.
Yeah, this is a tough one! A cool desert oasis may seem impossible to resist on a hot summer day, but it really is an oasis for wildlife. Many of the oils and sunscreen on our skin can wash-off in the water and contaminate for our furry friends that rely upon it during the summer.
First off, aluminum foil doesn’t burn. But that doesn’t seem to keep people from trying based upon the number of messy fire pits we’ve seen in the backcountry. Reducing the impact of your campfire not only makes it safer (think Smokey the Bear) but also leaves a nicer campground for the next person. Keep your campfire small and easy to maintain. If possible, use a pre-existing fire ring. And be sure to make sure all coals are out before abandoning your campsite.
Do you know all seven of the LNT principles? Read up on their super informative website before hitting the trail.