Family at tent platform. Photo: AMC FilesMeant to be viewed as guidelines for those who care about the land, Leave No Trace principles were developed in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Seven Principles are:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare. Know the terrain and any regulations applicable to the area you're planning to visit, and be prepared for extreme weather or other emergencies. This will enhance your enjoyment and ensure that you've chosen an appropriate destination. Small groups have less impact on resources and the experience of other backcountry visitors.

  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. Travel and camp on established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow. Good campsites are found, not made. Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams, and focus activities on areas where vegetation is absent. In pristine areas, disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.

  3. Dispose of Waste Properly. Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your camp for trash or food scraps. Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug six to eight inches, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

  4. Leave What You Find.Cultural or historic artifacts, as well as natural objects such as plants or rocks, should be left as found.

  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts. Cook on a stove. Use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. If a campfire is built, keep it small and use dead sticks found on the ground.

  6. Respect Wildlife. Observe wildlife from a distance. Feeding wildlife alters their natural behavior. Protect wildlife from your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors. Be courteous, respect the quality of other visitors backcountry experience, and let nature's sounds prevail.

To learn more about these principles, take a Master Educator course. View our current course schedule to register for a course in the White Mountains of New Hampshire or in other locations throughout the northeast. For more information about the Leave No Trace principles and the national Leave No Trace Program, visit javascript:HandleLink('cpe_714_0','CPNEWWIN:child%5Etoolbar=1,location=1,directories=0,status=1,menubar=1,scrollbars=1,resizable=1@');.

Photo: AMC Files

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