Principle 2: Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
The goal of travel outdoors is to move through natural areas while avoiding damage to the land, foliage, or waterways. Understanding how travel causes impacts is necessary to accomplish this goal. Travel damage occurs when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are trampled beyond recovery. After traveling to an area, we can have a significant effect on where we decide to camp. The resulting barren area leads to soil erosion and the development of undesirable trails or trampled areas. By understanding the best practices to travel and camp on durable surfaces responsibly, we can minimize human impact on outdoor spaces.
- Durable surfaces include established trails, campsites, rock, gravel, and dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
In popular areas
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
In undisturbed areas
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
Do you believe that education is the most effective line of defense for protecting the outdoors? Leave No Trace teaches millions of people the critical skills needed to care for the environment every year.
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