Leave No Trace Camping

If you are a frequent camper, you may have heard of “leave no trace” camping. It is a great way to camp sustainably. Here are some 10 tips if you’d like to start practicing this type of camping.

1. Watch where you set your tent. It’s important to set your tent in an area where there is no vegetation. This is especially important when you will be staying for more than one night. An ideal spot has dry leaves, so you can minimize your impact. Stick to paths when you can to avoid trampling on nature.

2. Take everything you brought. Often, it is illegal to remove plants or minerals from campsites or national parks. But, even when it’s not illegal, it’s important to realize what a big impact removing natural items can be. Additionally, only use dead materials when finding wood for a fire. It’s not a good idea to cut down trees for firewood.

3. Avoid feeding wildlife. Feeding wildlife can have a huge impact on the environment. Often, when animals get used to human handouts they become less wild, they can become nuisances, or worse, dangerous.

4. Plan ahead. In order to practice leave no trace camping, it is important to plan ahead and prepare in advance. By understanding the regulations in the area you are visiting, you can reduce your impact. It’s also a good idea to plan for weather and emergencies.

5. Camp in small groups. In order to have a lower impact, it is a good idea to camp in smaller groups. Typically 4-6 people are ideal for a camping trip because you are able to keep a campsite small. Additionally, by scheduling your trip around a slow camping season you will have less impact.

6. Use a map. Often campers use marketing paint or flagging to mark trails or paths. Instead, use a map and a compass.

7. Use established fire rings. Unfortunately, campfires can cause damage to camping areas. It’s always a good idea to use a lightweight stove when possible. When you do decide to use a campfire, use fire rings or mound fires. By keeping fires small, you can reduce your environmental impact.

8. Be respectful of others. While not technically part of leave no trace camping, it is always important to be considerate of other visitors. It’s important to think of their experience by avoiding making loud noises and being courteous to others on the trails.

9. Control pets. Pets can be great to have camping. But, it is important to make sure to control them. 10. Set up a gray water site. Rather than washing dishes in a lake or in a stream, create a cleaning area away from the water. You can wash your dishes there using environmentally friendly dishing liquids. Be sure to dump this water away from a lake or stream.

Most campers are passionate about the great outdoors. So, it is always important to do your best to preserve the nature you love. By following the leave no trace tips, you can make sure that future campers will be able to enjoy camping for years to come.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/baronbrian/1737675763/sizes/z/in/photostream/