The Journal

The importance of caring for our wildlife (7 principles)

The importance of caring for our wildlife (7 principles)

The Importance of “Leave no Trace” 

We all want to enjoy the wonderful beauty of our National Parks and surrounding nature throughout our lifetimes and for generations to come. That’s why when it comes to practicing resource conservation, one movement that people have taken up is “Leave No Trace”.

Leave No Trace is a set of principles and best practices promoted by The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and is widely understood and adopted by outdoor enthusiasts to help ensure our enjoyment of the outdoors isn’t reduced by our own impact. The decisions we make throughout our hikes and camping trips could have a detrimental effect on the wonderful parks we all enjoy. It is important to enhance the environment and try to leave our resting areas better than when we arrived.

some good practices for leave no trace include: during guided fishing excursions to the most pristine areas of the forest, pack out all flies, tippets, and leaders used on the tour. Never leave behind fishing lines that get tangled in bushes. We also encourage guests not to cut brush out of the way and to instead find another spot to fish. On every trip, be sure to bring trash containers to eliminate left-behind waste and to prevent the ingestion of food scraps by bears and other wildlife. These plastics and chemicals are harmful to wildlife and in turn the National Parks.

The seven principles to follow:

1) Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use
  • Visit in small groups when possible; consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups
  • Repackage food to minimize waste
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging

2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites
  • Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams
  • Keep campsites small; focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent
  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when it’s wet or muddy

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. Always leave a place cleaner than you found it
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. (Some highly active areas require human waste to be packed out, too; check before leaving for your trip)
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Strain your dishwater of any food scraps; scatter the strained water away from lakes and streams)

4) Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts
  • Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species
  • Do not build structure, furniture, or dig trenches

5) Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans or mound fires
  • Keep fires small; use only sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes

6) Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance; do not follow or approach them
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health alters natural behaviors and exposes 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 (where permitted; again, check before going)
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter

7) Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience
  • Be courteous, and yield to other users on the trail
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail; avoid loud voices and noises


We really hope you have a wonderful time on your excursions and follow the principles so that everybody could enjoy our majestic National Parks for many years to come. Please share your efforts so that the trend could also continue to spread and our parks could become clear of dangerous materials left behind by others.

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