Say hello to the great outdoors! Now that you’re here, you are invited to help keep these places healthy and beautiful. As people are getting outside in record numbers, the need to put Leave No Trace skills and ethics into action to minimize our collective impact is more important than ever. To join in, here’s what you need to know.
Know Before You Go
- Look up the areas you plan to visit online or contact the local visitor center. Knowing things such as road conditions, weather and available facilities is important.
- Be sure to bring all the basics: food, extra water, and a bag to take trash home with you.
- Packing extra items such as sunscreen, extra clothing layers, a basic first aid kit, rain gear and a map is always a safe bet.
Don’t be a Party Pooper
- Pet waste is a health hazard for both people and animals. Pet waste can lead to the rise of invasive species and can spread diseases which harms water, plants and wildlife that call this place home. Pack out your pet waste.
- Need to go but bathrooms are closed? First, walk at least 70 steps away from trails, water and people. If you have to poop, either 1) Dig a “cat hole” 6 inches or more deep, dispose of your waste in the hole, cover it, and pack out your toilet paper, or 2) Use a “wag bag” (a disposable bag to poop in, found in most outdoor stores) so you can pack out your waste.
- Pack it in, pack it out! Pick up all your trash and pack it out or dispose of it in a trashcan.
- Natural items such as orange and banana peels, apple cores and nutshells can take years to decompose. Pack those out too.
- Food scraps attract and harm wildlife, which in turn can put people at risk.
- We all share the outdoors. Everyone may have different ideas and expectations about what it means to be outside but we all must be respectful of others we encounter.
- Let’s all do our part to make the outdoors inclusive and welcoming to everyone. A friendly smile at people you encounter can go a long way.
As a partner of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, ADK shares its vision of creating low-impact recreational experiences and works to share Leave No Trace ethics through skills workshops, youth school programming, and hiker information services. Learn more about the 7 Leave No Trace principles online or through one of our workshops.