Leave No Trace Principles
Plan Ahead and Prepare - the
· Know the regulations and special concerns for the area
· Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
· Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
· Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups
· Repackage food to minimize waste.
· Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking
paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Plan Ahead and
Prepare - details:
Adequate trip planning and preparation helps backcountry travelers
accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably, while simultaneously
minimizing damage to the land.
Poor planning often results in miserable campers and damage to
natural and cultural resources. Rangers often tell stories of
campers they have encountered who, because of poor planning and
unexpected conditions, degrade backcountry resources and put themselves
Why is Trip Planning Important?
You may want to create additional answers for this list:
· It helps ensure the safety of groups and individuals.
· It prepares you to Leave No Trace and minimizes resource
· It contributes to accomplishing trip goals safely and
· It increases self-confidence and opportunities for learning
more about nature.
Seven Elements to Consider When
Planning a Trip
1. Identify and record the goals (expectations) of your trip.
2. Identify the skill and ability of trip participants.
3. Select destinations that match your goals, skills, and abilities
4. Gain knowledge of the area you plan to visit from land managers,
5. Choose equipment and clothing for comfort, safety, and Leave
No Trace qualities.
6. Plan trip activities to match your goals, skills, and abilities.
7. Evaluate your trip upon return note changes you will make next
Other Elements to Consider
· private land boundaries
· average hiking speed of group n anticipated food consumption
waste which leaves a trace!)
· group size (does it meet regulations, trip purpose and
Leave No Trace criteria?)
· all Leave No Trace principles
Meals are another element to trip planning that can have a profound
effect on the impact a group has on a backcountry area.
Benefits of Good Meal Planning
· Reduced trash.
· Reduced pack weight, resulting in faster hiking times
and less fatigue.
· Reduced dependence upon campfires for cooking.
One-Pot Meals and Food Repackaging
· Planning for one-pot meals and light weight snacks requires
a minimum of packing and preparation time, lightens loads and
decreases garbage. One-pot meals require minimal cooking utensils
and eliminate the need for a campfire. Two backpack stoves can
be used to cook all meals for large groups if you have two large
pots (one large pot can be balanced on two stoves when quick heating
is desired). Remember, a stove Leaves No Trace.
· Most food should be removed from its commercial packing
and placed in sealable bags before packing your backpacks. Sealable
bags secure food and reduce bulk and garbage. Empty bags can be
placed inside each other and packed out for reuse at home. This
method can reduce the amount of garbage your group must pack out
at the end of the trip and eliminate the undesirable need of stashing
or burying unwanted trash.
What are Some Examples of the Results of
Poor Trip Planning?
· A group that is inexperienced or unfamiliar with the
geography of an area may put people at risk by traveling through
areas susceptible to flash floods or along ridge tops vulnerable
to lightning activity. Groups traveling arid lands often fail
to carry adequate water or a way of purifying water from natural
sources. Checking with local land managers and studying maps and
weather conditions can contribute to a low-risk existence.
· A poorly prepared group may plan to cook meals over a
campfire only to discover upon arrival at their destination that
a fire ban is in effect or that firewood is in scarce supply.
Such groups often build a fire anyway breaking the law or impacting
the land simply because they have not planned for alternatives.
Fire bans and scarce wood supplies are signs that an area is experiencing
the cumulative effects of heavy recreation use.
· A group that has failed to develop good travel plans
may be unable to travel as fast as expected. The terrain may be
too steep or the trails too rugged. These groups often resort
to setting up camp late at night, sometimes in an unsafe location.
Poor campsite selection usually leads to unnecessary resource
damage. In addition, the group may never even reach their planned