As growing numbers of people seek the beauty and exhilaration of outdoor recreation, our collective mark on the environment and natural ecosystems becomes more apparent-and more damaging. Water pollution, litter and disturbance to vegetation, wildlife and other visitors are indicators of the need to develop a national ethic that protects wild and scenic areas. Techniques designed to minimize these impacts are incorporated into the national Leave No Trace education program as the following Leave No Trace Principles:
Principles of Leave No Trace
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces
- Pack It In, Pack It Out
- Properly Dispose of What You Can’t Pack Out
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Use and Impact of Fires
These principles are a guide to minimum impact camping in the Northeast’s mountains and forests. Visitors to the region’s lakes, rivers, seacoasts and winter environments may learn from other guides produced in the Leave No Trace Outdoor Skills and Ethics series.
Leave No Trace depends more on attitude and awareness than on rules and regulations. Minimum-impact practices must be flexible and tempered by judgment and experience. Techniques are continually evolving and improving. Consider the variables of each place-soil, vegetation, wildlife, moisture level, and the amount and type of use the area receives-then use these observations to determine which recommended techniques to apply. Your trip will be even more enjoyable knowing that you are minimizing your impact on the land and on other visitors.
Before traveling into the backcountry, check with local land management agencies or private landowners for advice and regulations specific to the area you plan to visit. First and foremost, it is important to carefully review and follow all regulations and recommendations; this booklet is intended to support and complement these guidelines.