The principles of leave no trace remind us to respect the rights of other users of the natural environment as well as to preserve for future generations. It is an awareness and an attitude instead of a set of rules and regulations. All of us should share and practice Leave No Trace to minimize the impact of your visits to the natural heritage areas such as the forest, mountains, rivers, seashore and all other outdoors. Simply put, when you visit the wilderness, leave everything just as you found it.
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
“Good Planning is living the experience in advance” Sir Edmund Hillary.
– Comply with the area regulation such as the limit on group size and schedule your trek to avoid times of high use.
– Obtained information and prepare for extreme weather and unexpected emergemcies.
– Build appropriate campfire, minimize trash and repackaging food to prevent waste.
– Avoid marking rocks and trees with paint, use GPS instead.
– Be prepared to turn back if you sense danger in your trek to avoid abandoning the leave no trace techniques.
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
– Hikers and campers should focus on using the established and existing trails and campsites. The objective is to minimize disturbances to soil and vegetation.
– Keep campsite small by pitching tents closer to each other.
– Trek in the middle of the trail even when muddy or wet.
– Avoid areas where impact are just starting to show.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
– Always make is a habit to “Pack it in, pack it out” Before you leave, make sure to pack out all the rubbish, litter and stray food in proper disposal bins.
– Proper human waste disposal helps to prevent spread of disease. Dig catholes of about 6 to 8 inches, at least 200 feet away from river or campsite, and cover when finished.
– Use biodegradable soap to wash dishes or take shower.
4. Leave What You Find
– People visit backcountry to explore nature’s beauty and mystery, hence, make sure you leave rocks, shells, plants, fossils and other natural objexts as you find them and pass on for others to discover later.
– Never touch aboriginal rocks or historical artifacts
– Never build tables, chairs, structures or dig tent trenches.
– Hammer nails into trees or damage the bark of the trees in any which way are against the leave no trace principles.
5. Minimize Campfire Impact
– Many campers like campfires but they are no longer essential for food cooking or comfort. Use a light weight stove for cooking instead and use battery operated lantern for light. Campfires will cause lasting impact to the natural environment.
– Whenever possible or permitted, use an established campfire ring
– Leave no trace fire is small and use only deadwood or sticks that can be broken by hand.
– Burn all wood to ash and be sure to put out the fir completely when done.
6. Respect Wildlife
– Watch and observe wildlife from far away. Do not disturb or follow them.
– Never feed wild animals, help keep wildlife wild by storing the food, trash and leftover food securely so as to avoid damage to their health or change the natural behaviors.
– Avoid wildlife during mating, nesting and breeding seasons.
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
– Hike and camp in smaller groups, abide the limit rules of the site.
– Be courteous to other users, always travel and camp quietly.
– Choose campsites away from other groups to respect their privacy.
– Respect other visitors, keep the noise down and leave pets and radios at home. Let nature’s sound prevail.