Seven Principles Overview

Leave No Trace is built on seven core principles that are used to communicate the best available minimum impact guidance for enjoying the outdoors responsibly. The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace were developed to help educate and guide recreationists in sustainable minimum impact practices that mitigate or avoid recreation-related impacts. These Principles are the most robust and widely utilized minimum impact outdoor practices. Although Leave No Trace has its roots in backcountry and wilderness, the practices have been adapted so that they can be applied anywhere - from the backcountry, to local parks, to your backyard - and for any recreational activity. Each Principle covers a specific topic and provides detailed information for minimizing impacts.

The Seven Principles 

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts 
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

 

The Principles are based not only on a respect for nature and other visitors, they are also based on and supported by scientific research. The majority of this research aligns with the fields of Recreation Ecology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. Recreation Ecology research informs us about recreation-related impacts and how they can be reduced by managers and visitors, while Human Dimensions research tells us about outdoor enthusiasts perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding enjoyment of the outdoors. 

Copyright: The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. To reprint the Leave No Trace Seven Principles, include copyright language and please do not alter them without review from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.