If you’re a beginner camper, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Leave No Trace” a few times already. And if you’re too shy to ask someone for an explanation, or simply would like to read about it by yourself, this article will guide you through these seven rules and help you learn and understand them better.
Their purpose is to, simply said, protect nature and help us preserve it, without the need to avoid camping and outdoor activities. All around the world millions of people spend time in nature, especially during spring and summer, when the temperatures rise, so that amount of people can affect the surrounding and cause serious damage if we don’t pay enough attention, whether we want it or not. It is enough not to know something, or even overlook something, and the damage could already be too big for it to be fixed. So, before you go out for your camping trip, or even out for a simple walk, these seven rules are “a must”.
Who Are These Rules Meant For?
There are two types of nature parks – front country and backcountry. The front country ones are those places you could easily access with your car – like the park near your house or the one in the city center. They are mostly used by people who visit it during the day, from people walking their dogs, runners, or picnickers. Backcountry areas are those mainly used for overnight staying, like campsites, etc.
While these rules are mostly made to help backcountry users to keep the place clean while they spend their time in nature, they serve as a good guide basically for everyone who loves to spend time in nature.
The Seven Leave No Trace Principles
- Plan and prepare.
2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
3. Dispose of waste properly.
4. Leave what you find.
5. Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
6. Respect wildlife.
7. Be considerate of other visitors.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Good preparation is halfway to a successful and fun trip. Do your best to avoid possible problems by not getting properly prepared. Research and do your best to be ready for anything that could happen to you. Start by learning about your destination, weather, and regulations, and restrictions. Learn about the weather, and if you plan on staying for a longer period of time, make sure you have everything prepared for the bad weather, possible hazards, or emergencies. A good thing to do is to plan your trip while the user is not so high so you can be more relaxed and have more space. To minimize the waste, you’ll have to learn how to repackage the food.
If you plan on camping or simply hiking, it is useful to have a map and compass, this will eliminate the need for rock cairns, flags, or marking paint.
Travel And Camp On Durable Surfaces
Do not take a risk with the place you’ll set your picnic or camp. If you feel it’s not hard enough, and you feel there is a possibility it can’t endure the weight, you’re probably right. Search for surfaces like rock, gravel, dry grass…
Don’t try to find new trails or campsites, stick to those that already exist. Stay at least 200 feet from the water areas like lakes, streams… Don’t make your camp too big, and hold your activities with the smallest amount of vegetation. And when you take a hike, walk a single line using the middle of the trail. Don’t camp on places in the development, and spread the use to avoid forming campsites and trails where they shouldn’t be.
Dispose of Waste Properly
There is always, no matter the place, one rule you should follow – leave the place cleaner than it was when you arrived. For human waste, you could dig up the cat hole from 6 to 8 inches, at least 200 feet from water, camp, or trails. Then, when done, cover it and disguise it. But make sure you’ve checked the local rules, there is a possibility that you’ll have to take the human waste with you.
Bring enough toilet paper and all other products needed for proper hygiene. When you want to wash your hands or dishes, take the water at least 200 feet away from any water, and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. When done, scatter strained dishwasher.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Being one of the most important rituals, campfires are most often one of the most destructive things when it comes to camping hazards. If you want to cook, think about getting a lightweight stove or use a lantern for light. Not to mention the fact that looking at the stars is amazing with the lights out.
If the campfires are allowed, ask around for established rules. If you have, use fire rings, pans, or mound fires. Keep them small all the time, and use the sticks from the ground you could break by your hand. Make sure all the wood and coal you’ve used are burnt to the ground, and when you put the fire completely out, scatter the ashes around – of course, when it cools down. If you think about bringing the firewood from your home, don’t because it could affect the natural balance on the site. Buy it instead, or if permitted – get it by yourself.
Leave What You Find
“Take only pictures, leave only footprints” is one of the most important rules when it comes to respecting nature. If you’re at some cultural or historical artifact or structure, look at it but do not touch it. Don’t move or take rocks, plants, or anything else. Pay attention to non-native species spreading, so clean everything – from boot soles to kayak hulls or bike tires between the trips. And most importantly – do not build – or demolish – anything!
If you see any wild animals, do not disturb them. Both of you will prefer to avoid possible contact, not to mention lowering the chances of any kind of accidents from happening. Stick to your camera lens and your binoculars.
If you see that animals are about to leave, don’t chase them. Don’t feed them, because you could affect their health, change their natural behavior, or expose them to predators. If you can’t leave your pets at home or want to take them with you, make sure you have control all the time. Also, inform yourself whether it is mating, nesting, or time when the animals raise young ones.
Be Considerate Of Other Visitors
Last but not least – don’t treat others the way you wouldn’t like to be treated yourself. Respect all visitors and help them have fun during their stay. If you run into someone, yield if on a tray. Step on the downhill side of the trail if you encounter pack stock. Take breaks and try to camp away from other campers. Don’t try to be louder than nature. Let it do its work.
Globo Surf Overview
Camping is fun, no question, but to make it even more fun and increase the possibility of repeating your trip, you should follow some basic rules. This article will help you achieve that while leaving you with some great memories but also setting a great example for others.