The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
1 . Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know the regulations for the area you will be visiting. Prepare for all weather situations that could occur on your visit. (see great information links at the bottom)
Schedule your visit to avoid high times of use. Visit in small groups when possible. Repackage food to minimize waste. Use a compass or map to avoid using marking paint, flagging or rock cairns.
Time your hikes accordingly to assure plenty of time to make it back to the trailhead before dark.
2 . Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces (Stick To Trails)
Concentrating travel on trails reduces the likelihood that multiple routes will develop and scar the landscape.Traveling off trail, whether hiking, running, or biking, can permanently damage vegetation and widen trails. Stay with your group. Camp on durable surfaces. Selecting an appropriate campsite is perhaps the most important aspect of low-impact backcountry use. It requires the greatest degree of judgment and information, and often involves making trade-offs between minimizing ecological and social impacts. A decision about where to camp should be based on information about the level and type of use in the area, the fragility of vegetation and soil, the likelihood of wildlife disturbance, an assessment of previous impacts, and your party’s potential to cause or avoid impact.
3 . Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, Pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. To wash yourself or you dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.And whether it is a tissue from a rest stop or human waste in the woods, please dispose of your pet waste responsibly as well. Most hiking trails in North Georgia do allow pets on a leash. Know your pet. Before you head to the trails, make sure your pet is fit for the trail. Visit the vet. Teach trail manners. Be prepared. Pick up after your pet. Stay safe around wildlife.
4 . Leave What You Find
Preserve the past. Examine, but do not touch or remove structures, artifacts, rocks, plants and other natural objects. Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species. Do not build structures, furniture or dig trenches.
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
Camp in areas where wood is abundant if building a fire. Choose not to have a fire in areas where there is little wood at higher elevations, in heavily used areas, or in desert settings. A true Leave No Trace fire shows no evidence of having been constructed.
6 . Respect Wildlife
Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach wildlife. Never feed animals as this will damage health, alter natural behavior and expose them to predators and other dangers. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Control pets at all times or leave them at home. Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
7 . Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Pack it in, Pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. To wash yourself or you dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles ©1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics