Seven Principles

5 Ways to Leave No Trace This Spring

Susy Alkaitis - March 9, 2020

Springtime brings new growth, budding leaves, and beautiful flowers to enjoy. As the days grow longer and the weather gets warmer, it’s a great time to get outside. Check out these 5 tips to enjoy all that spring has to offer while taking care to Leave No Trace.

1. Watch out for the Weather 

A change in the season means a change in the weather and conditions. Temperatures and precipitation can be less predictable during this time of year. Hikes at higher elevation may still have snow and ice, while lower valleys may be subject to heavy rain and flooding. Plan Ahead and Prepare by checking the weather report and trail conditions before heading out. Dress for the weather and come prepared with warm layers and rain gear.  

2. Start Slow and Easy

If you’ve been cooped up during the winter, start the season out easy. This will help you get warmed up and avoid injuries. Think about the goals, skills, and ability of your group and plan accordingly. Research the terrain and remember that conditions in an area can change throughout the season. 

3. Get Ready to Get Muddy

Wet and muddy trails are vulnerable to soil erosion and compaction. In the early spring, some areas may be closed to protect the trails. Obey trail closures and consider picking drier hikes to avoid damaging sensitive areas. If you are hiking in a muddy area, remember to hike through mud and puddles to avoid widening the trail. Waterproof shoes can help keep you comfortably on the trail and off surrounding vegetation.

4. Be Mindful of Bugs

As the weather warms up, mosquitoes, flies, and ticks begin to thrive. Prevent bug bites by wearing long sleeves and pants. Come prepared with insect repellent and use it as needed. Follow the link to learn more Tips for Dealing with Bugs.

5. Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

As plants and wildlife become more active, so do invasive species. Prevent the spread of invasives to new areas by cleaning your gear and burning only local, or certified heat treated firewood. As boating season picks up, remember to Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat to leave aquatic invasive species behind.

Enjoy Your World and Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace’s Cameron Larnerd and Nick Whites are part of the 2020 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 AmericaREIEagles Nest OutfittersDeuterThuleFjällräven and Klean Kanteen.

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