How to Leave No Trace

September 18, 2020
PAULA CHAMPAGNEWhether out hiking, biking, or just at the park, be sure to Leave No Trace.

 

Spending time outdoors is great for both your mental and physical health, and it’s a lot of fun. But even with all that nature offers us, it’s important to recognize our own impact on the environment and spaces we enjoy when heading outdoors—and do our best to minimize it.

For nearly 150 years, AMC has encouraged safe and responsible enjoyment of the outdoors. Since 1999, AMC has been a provider of Leave No Trace education programs, designed by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in Boulder, Colo. as a way to limit the human impact of outdoor recreation on natural spaces. The roughly 13 billion annual outdoors trips in the United States certainly leave their marks, according to Alex Delucia, Leave No Trace programs manager for AMC: Overuse of popular trails leads to erosion and the destruction of delicate plant life, failing to carry out your trash can disturb an area’s ecosystem, and improperly stored food in campsites results in aggressive wildlife that have come to rely on human trash as a food source, to name a few.

Through its seven principles, the Leave No Trace program targets everything from proper waste management, to campfires, to safety planning, as a way to help walk a little bit more lightly when we’re enjoying the outdoors. AMC not only integrates LNT principles into every facet of its programming, we encourage everyone to practice these principles as a way to protect and preserve the environment.

 

The Seven Leave No Trace Principles:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

 


LEARN MORE

  • Read about the dos and don’ts of hiking in mud season.
  • Watch our video on how to plan for a day hike.
  • Learn how AMC’s huts achieve zero waste.

 

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Kelleigh Welch

Kelleigh is managing editor of AMC Outdoors.