We’re preparing our travel trailer for several weeks of camping over the next couple or three months. Part of our preparation is ensuring that our activities do not leave a mark or effect on the natural or cultural environments we visit.
What does it mean to leave no trace? It means enjoying outdoor activities to the fullest yet leaving no sign that you were ever there.
Leave No Trace Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting outdoor ethics, promotes an environmental education program to raise public awareness regarding the importance of respecting Canada’s wilderness and natural areas by providing the public with proven solutions to protect and enjoy our natural areas.
The program has seven principles:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What you Find
- Minimize Campfire Impact
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Others.
Some of the ways you can put the principles into practice:
- Pack out all garbage, and pick up garbage left behind by other campers
- Take only pictures
- Hike along existing trails whenever possible
- Don’t wash dishes (or bathe) directly in lakes, rivers, streams or ponds
- Use biodegradable soaps and shampoos
- Don’t feed or harass wildlife
- Use stoves, where possible, instead of an open fire
- Respect the rights of fellow campers – keep voices low and leave radios at home
- Don’t cut down living plants or trees
- Buy or repackage food into burnable or reusable containers
- If you have a large group, divide into several smaller parties and camp on different sites at least 100 metres apart to lessen environmental impact
- Don’t dig trenches around tents, and don’t dig holes for grease pits