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Leave No Trace

Techniques for Traveling in the Woods
By Murray Selleck - April 4th, 2002

Common sense plays a large role in the Leave No Trace (LNT) principles of enjoying the outdoors. You can get involved with LNT techniques on a very simple level, for instance, even when you are out for a day hike, stay on the trail. In the springtime when the trails are wet and muddy always hike the center of it. Hiking the sides causes the trail to become wider and new trails can get created where none was intended. Pick up litter that you find. Easy, simple, and you have left the area better than how you found it.


  • Pack it in; pack it out
  • Plan ahead and be prepared to carry out what you brought in and more
  • Travel and set up camp on durable surfaces
  • Properly dispose of what you can't pack out
  • Leave behind natural things that you find for others to also enjoy
  • Minimize your use and the impact of fires

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You can also practice LNT on a more involved level, in all seasons, including winter. Make it a way of life. Swear off the use of campfires, or learn how to build one that won't scar the land. Learn how to properly dispose of human waste (including alternatives to toilet paper), how to pick the ideal campsite, and travel softly over land or water.

There are many books available explaining Leave No Trace. Here are three that are highly recommended.

  • Soft Paths by Bruce Hampton and David Cole (Stackpole Books)
  • Leave No Trace by Annette McGivney (The Mountaineers)
  • Leave No Trace by Will Harmon (Falcon Books)
    You can also look up for even more information and materials.


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