Leave No Trace

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine

Camp Outs, Family Vacations 1998

Leave No Trace


Happy Trails
From an all-day jaunt to a weeklong trek, seven kid-tested routes to the wilderness

Ten drive-up campsites with a backcountry feel

Backpacks To Grow On
Seven packs for every size hiker

Leave No Trace
Teaching your kids these simple skills, and get them involved in protecting wild places

Boots Made for Mileage
Five tough hiking boots for kids and adults

All the right stuff for camping

In 1991, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and numerous other private partners joined the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) to become founding partners of a national educational program called Leave No Trace. By teaching your own kids these simple skills, you can help them become more involved in and responsible for protecting the wild places of our world.

Camp and travel on durable surfaces. When on the trail, stay on designated paths (don't try to take shortcuts), and use maps and a compass to eliminate the need for tree ribbons and rock cairns. When making camp, choose an established, legal site that won't be damaged by your stay (make sure that it's at least 200 feet from any lakes or streams).

Pack it in. Pack it out. Protect your food, yourself, and the region's wildlife by securely storing rations. Pick up all spilled foods. Pack everything that you bring into the backcountry out with you.

Properly dispose of what you can't pack out. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet from streams and lakes and use a small amount of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dish water. Use toilet paper or wipes sparingly, and pack them out with you. Deposit human waste in catholes dug six to eight inches deep and at least 200 feet from water sources, campsites, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when you're finished.

Leave what you find. Treat our natural heritage with respect. Leave plants, rocks, and artifacts as you find them.

Minimize use and impacts of fire. Instead of fires, enjoy a candle lantern for illumination and carry a lightweight stove for cooking. If you do make a fire (only in areas where they are permitted), gather sticks no larger than an adult's wrist. Use established fire rings, fire pans, or fire mounds. Don't scar large rocks and overhangs. Put campfires out completely, and scatter the cool ashes over a large area well away from camp. For information and materials on Leave No Trace, call 800-332-4100.

Copyright 1998, Outside magazine

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

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