Leave No Trace Principles
Leave What You Find - the basics:
· Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural
or historic structures and
· Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you
· Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
· Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
Leave What You
Find - details:
Allow others a sense of discovery by leaving rocks, plants, archaeology
artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
The activities for this Leave No Trace principle deal with cultural
artifacts; however, leave what you find involves many aspects
of outdoor use. The following information addresses a variety
of ways to respect natural settings.
Leave areas as you found them. Do not dig trenches for tents or
construct lean-tos, tables, chairs, or other rudimentary improvements.
If you clear an area of surface rocks, twigs or pine cones, replace
these items before leaving. On high impact sites, it is appropriate
to clean up the site and dismantle inappropriate user-built facilities,
such as multiple fire rings and constructed seats or tables. Consider
the idea that good campsites are found and not made.
In many locations, properly-located and legally constructed facilities,
such as a single fire ring, should be left. Dismantling them will
cause additional impact because they will be rebuilt with new
rocks and thus impact a new area. Learn to evaluate all situations
Live Trees and Plants
Avoid hammering nails into trees for hanging things, hacking at
them with hatchets and saws, or tying tent guy lines to trunksthus
girdling the tree. Carving initials into trees is unacceptable.
The cutting of boughs for use as sleeping pads creates minimal
benefit and maximum impact. Invasive sleeping pads are available
at stores catering to campers.
Picking a few flowers does not seem like it would have any great
impact and, if only a few flowers were picked, it wouldn't. But,
if every visitor thought ll just take a few, a much more significant
impact might result. Take a picture or sketch the flower instead
of picking it. Experienced campers may enjoy an occasional edible
plant, but they are careful not to deplete the surviving vegetation
or disturb plants that are rare or are slow to reproduce.
Objects and Cultural Artifacts
Natural objects of beauty or interest such as antlers, petrified
wood, or colored rocks add to the mood of the backcountry and
should be left so others can experience a sense of discovery.
In National Parks and some other areas it is illegal to remove
The same ethic is applicable to cultural artifacts found on public
land. Cultural artifacts are protected by the Archaeological Resources
Protection Act. It is illegal to remove or disturb archeological
sites, historic sites, or artifacts such as pot sherds, arrowheads,
structures, and even antique bottles found on public lands.