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The 7 Leave No Trace Principles and How To Follow Them

At AutoCamp, one of our key values is to respect the environment. We’re all about getting people outside responsibly. We aim to follow the seven core principles of Leave No Trace as defined by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Read below on how you can live by these principles both during your stay at AutoCamp as well as in your everyday life.

Principle 1: Plan ahead and prepare

Why: Planning ahead ensures the safety of you and those around you. It prepares you for minimizing waste and resource damage. Preparing ahead of time increases your self-confidence and opportunities to learn more about nature. 

How: 

  • Identify the goals of your trip
  • Identify the skills and ability levels of those participating
  • Read up on the area in which you’re traveling
  • Plan trip activities to match your goals, skills, and abilities

Principle 2: Travel and camp on durable surfaces 

Why: Travel damage happens when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are damaged beyond recovery. This is why it is important to stay on-trail at all times. 

How: 

  • Keep on trail to avoid damaging natural vegetation
  • Avoid traveling in large groups

Principle 3: Dispose of waste properly

Why: A no-brainer! If waste is not disposed of properly, it will end up harming animals, plants, water, etc.

How: 

  • Dispose of trash and other unwanted materials in proper waste, recycling, and compost bins. 
  • Carry a bag to haul your waste out on a long hike or day trip. Dispose of it responsibly when you come across receptacles.
  • Dispose of human waste responsibly. Read more here

Principle 4: Leave what you find

Why: Moving elements of a natural ecosystem can cause permanent damage. Such behavior also sets an example for future guests. 

How: 

  • Avoid moving or taking rocks, sticks, flowers, shells, etc. 
  • If you do move rocks, say to build a campfire, return them once you are done

Principle 5: Minimize campfire impacts

Why: Campfires can cause catastrophic wildfires and permanent damage to the land. It is always important that you are responsible in both building, enjoying and putting them out. The best place to build a fire is in a fire ring, cue your personal AutoCamp firepit! 

How: 

  • Keep the fire small and burn only while you will be around it
  • Remember that dirt may not completely extinguish the fire, be sure to use water. 
  • Allow wood to burn completely to ash 

Principle 6: Respect wildlife 

Why: When we explore the outdoors, we are stepping on homes and ecosystems of wildlife. Respecting this wildlife keeps them as well as ourselves safe.

How:

  •  Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee 
  • Large groups cause more damage, travel in smaller groups to help minimize impacts
  • Disposing of waste responsibly helps in preventing the harm of wildlife

Principle 7: Be considerate of other visitors 

Why: Being respectful of other visitors helps everyone enjoy the outdoors, including yourself! 

How: 

  • Keep your noise to a minimum. Being loud disrupts other visitors as well as wildlife.
  • Travel in smaller groups to avoid loud noise and obtrusive behavior
  • On narrow trails, hikers headed downhill should step aside for uphill travelers to pass

For more details and to learn more about the Leave No Trace principles, read here!

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