***Posted to the @PublicLandsHateYou Instagram account on 7/23/2019***
In the coming days, I’ll be sharing a series of posts about the Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Eight posts to be exact. One detailing each of the eight (Yep, we are adding one!) LNT principles.
1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
2. Travel/Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
8. Share Responsibly
Each post will contain detailed information about the principle along with examples of good/bad behavior relating to that principle. The goal is to both provide information AND a resource for all of you. When you see someone posting content that violates one of the LNT principles, you can refer them to this page, or better yet, send them the relevant post in a direct message.
Why am I doing this? I feel like LNT is a topic that EVERYONE should know and understand if they are using our public lands, be it a local park, unspoiled wilderness area, or anywhere in-between. These eight principles are excellent guidelines for how we can preserve our public lands, respect wildlife, be courteous to other users, and ultimately leave a place in the same condition we found it.
Who am I to be masquerading as a LNT expert? I don’t have a fancy LNT course certificate on my wall. I didn’t get a 4-year degree in Outdoor Education. I don’t even work in the outdoor industry. What I do have is 30+ years of experience recreating on our public lands. I’ve traveled through the backcountry and frontcountry of deserts, forests, bogs, seashores, alpine zones, plains, rainforests, and everywhere in between learning best practices along the way. If that doesn’t make me enough of an expert for you or you don’t believe what random strangers on the internet say, that’s fine. Check out the authority on this topic @leavenotracecenter.
I’m not perfect and never said I was. You’re not perfect, and no one expects you to be. All we can ask of each other is to be constantly learning and improving. Increasing your knowledge about LNT and sharing that knowledge with others is arguably the best way to preserve our public lands and maintain access for EVERYONE who wants it.
Are the LNT principles rules? No, but they are great guidelines that cover the vast majority of situations. Is some judgement required with these principles based on context, geography, location, etc? Of course. But some portions of these principles are so clear-cut that there is no excuse for ignoring them. So folks, enjoy these posts, and take some time to dive into the details! Understand the location you are visiting and how LNT applies to that specific area.