As more people use parks and recreation facilities, LEAVE NO TRACE® guidelines become even more important for outdoor visitors.
Leave No Trace is a plan that helps people to be more concerned about their environment and to help them protect it for future generations. Leave No Trace applies in a backyard or local park (frontcountry) as much as it does in the wilderness (backcountry).
We should practice Leave No Trace in our attitude and actions‹wherever we go. Understanding nature strengthens our respect toward the environment. One person with thoughtless behavior or one shortcut on a trail can spoil the outdoor experience for others.
Help protect the environment by remembering that while you are there, you are a visitor. When you visit the outdoors, take special care of the area. Leave everything just as you find it.
Hiking and camping without a trace are signs of a considerate outdoorsman who cares for the environment. Travel lightly on the land.
Watch for hazards and follow all the rules of the park or outdoor facility. Remember proper clothing, sunscreen, hats, first aid kits, and plenty of drinking water. Use the buddy system. Make sure you carry your family's name, phone number, and address.
Stay on marked trails whenever possible. Short-cutting trails causes the soil to wear away or to be packed, which eventually kills trees and other vegetation. Trampled wildflowers and vegetation take years to recover. Stick to trails!
Managing your pet will keep people, dogs, livestock, and wildlife from feeling threatened. Make sure your pet is on a leash or controlled at all times. Do not let your pet approach or chase wildlife. When animals are chased or disturbed, they change eating patterns and use more energy that may result in poor health or death.
Take care of your pet's waste. Take a small shovel or scoop and a pick-up bag to pick up your pet's waste— wherever it's left. Place the waste bags in a trash can for disposal.
When visiting any outdoor area, try to leave it the same as you find it. The less impact we each make, the longer we will enjoy what we have. Even picking flowers denies others the opportunity to see them and reduces seeds, which means fewer plants next year.
Use established restrooms. Graffiti and vandalism have no place anywhere, and they spoil the experience for others. Leave your mark by doing an approved conservation project.
Expect to meet other visitors. Be courteous and make room for others. Control your speed when biking or running. Pass with care and let others know before you pass. Avoid disturbing others by making noise or playing loud music.
Respect "No Trespassing" signs. If property boundaries are unclear, do not enter the area.
Make sure all trash is put in a bag or trash receptacle. Trash is unsightly and ruins everyone's outdoor experience. Your trash can kill wildlife. Even materials, such as orange peels, apple cores and food scraps, take years to break down and may attract unwanted pests that could become a problem.
Patches (catalog number 08797) are available through your local council.
You can take the pledge to practice the Leave No Trace frontcountry guidelines wherever you go. Just review the guidelines and promise to practice them in your frontcountry outings.