A Message From Our Sustainability Coordinator: Leave No Trace
Hey y’all, Liz Wonder here, Founders’ Sustainability Coordinator and outdoor enthusiast!
I love going for long hikes and enjoying all the beauty the Mitten State has to offer, but it can be really disappointing to see litter or old bonfire remnants in the middle of an otherwise pristine view. Luckily, there is an awesome organization dedicated to training and educating folks on how to enjoy nature without leaving lasting negative impacts.
Leave No Trace has created a set of principles that are easy to follow and help us all to preserve our natural world for the use and enjoyment of generations to come. These principles are as follows:
Plan ahead: make sure you know the rules and regulations of the area you’re planning to visit, and of course meal planning and preparation can help reduce the amount of packaging you have to bring with you and also pack out!
Travel and camp on durable surfaces: staying on established campsites and trails helps reduce wear and tear on the surrounding environment, and also reduces the likelihood of creating additional trails. Durable surfaces include rock, dry grasses, and snow.
Dispose of waste properly: People don’t like to think about their waste, but when you throw something ‘away’ it doesn’t disappear. Pack it in, pack it out is one of the most fundamental aspects of LNT and should be applied wherever possible, especially to things like food waste and trash. And, of course, beer cans.
Leave what you find: we can all agree that nature is beautiful, but if each of us takes little bits of it with us, eventually there will be nothing left to enjoy. This also means that you should leave areas the way you find them.
Minimize fire impacts: I love a good campfire as much as the next person, but fire can leave lasting damage to the area. Use a burner stove, pre-established fire rings, or hard surfaces if you must have a fire in the wild.
Respect wildlife: You’re in their house now, so act with a little class, eh? Don’t feed them, or let your dog go say ‘hi’. Let’s keep the ‘wild’ in wildlife.
Be considerate of other visitors: you may or may not be the only person/people trying to enjoy that beautiful scenic spot, so be respectful of the people around you. There’s plenty of wild out there for all of us, so remember, sharing is caring.
I hope that when you hit the trails this summer you keep these rules in mind, and of course if you want to learn more about Leave No Trace, or even take a course, you can find more information here.