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How to use the Leave No Trace Seven Princples when visiting Parks!

Leave No Trace - June 29, 2016

Harpers Ferry, WV:  How to use the Leave No Trace Seven Principles when visiting parks!

2016 is the centennial of the National Park System and Leave No Trace wants to help you get outside and enjoy your world!  In the summer months millions of people get outside and visit parks.  America has a great system of parks at every level from the 59 National Parks to State Parks and even your local community park.

You may be aware of the many incidents that have already plagued some parks, like Yellowstone National Park this summer.  These incidents for the most part can be prevented by simply being aware and doing your best to follow the Seven Principles organized by Leave No Trace, the Center for Outdoor Ethics.

The Seven Principles are grounded in science.  The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, based in Boulder, Colorado strives to create a framework that can help anyone get outside and enjoy their world responsibly.

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Here are some tips to enjoy the parks and Leave No Trace while visiting:

#1 – Plan Ahead and Prepare

Check your permits, do you need a permit to camp, use a waterway or access a trail? 

Check the season access and road conditions, is their construction or snow?

Check the weather during your entire stay.  

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#2 – Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Stay on designated trails when hiking, biking, horseback riding and however else you enjoy the outdoors.

Use a trail map.

Can you use public transportation to reduce vehicle congestion?

#3 – Dispose of Waste Properly

What are the rules associated with trash? Do you need to pack everything out? Are there trash cans available? 

Are there bear boxes and are you allowed to leave trash or food in your car?

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#4 – Leave What you Find

Learn about the native species you are visiting and if there are any non-natives in the area causing damage. Is there anything you can do to help, liking brushing off your trail shoes or bike tires? 

#5 – Minimize Campfire Impacts

How will you be cooking your meals? Will you use a stove or open flame?

If you are making a campfire are you prepared to put it out? 

#6 – Respect Wildlife

What types of wildlife live in the areas you will be visiting?

Do you need to prepare for bears?  

Remember to keep track of your food and please don't feed the animals.

#7 – Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Check the local rules and regulations of the park for alcohol use and quiet hours?

We are all outside to enjoy the outdoors, even though we have different activities to enjoy the outdoors we are all there for the same reason and it is important to respect that.


Travel Well,

Amanda and Greg – Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team East Central

Leave No Trace's Amanda Neiman and Greg Smith are part of the 2016 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Fjall Raven, ENO, Deuter, Thule, and Smartwool.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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