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Greater St. Louis Area Council: Boy Scouts of America

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Pathfinder > Posts > The Seven Principles of "Leave No Trace"
October 03
The Seven Principles of "Leave No Trace"

1. Plan ahead and prepare.

Proper trip planning and preparation helps hikers and campers accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably while minimizing damage to natural and cultural resources. Campers who plan ahead can avoid unexpected situations and minimize their impact by complying with area regulations such as observing limitations on group size.

2. Camp and travel on durable surfaces.

Damage to land occurs when visitors trample vegetation or communities of organisms beyond recovery. The resulting barren areas develop into undesirable trails, campsites, and soil erosion.

3. Pack it in. Pack it out.

This simple yet effective saying motivates backcountry visitors to take their trash home with them. It makes sense to carry out of the backcountry the extra materials taken there by your group or others. Minimize the need to pack out food scraps by carefully planning meals. Accept the challenge of packing out everything you bring.

4. Leave what you find.

Allow others a sense of discovery: Leave rocks, plants, animals, archaeological artifacts, and other objects as you find them. It may be illegal to remove artifacts.

5. Minimize campfire use.

Some people would not think of camping without a campfire. Yet the naturalness of many areas has been degraded by the overuse of fires and increasing demand for firewood.

6. Respect wildlife.

Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. Considerate campers observe wildlife from afar, give animals a wide berth, store food securely, and keep garbage and food scraps away from animals. Help keep wildlife wild.

7. Respect others.

Thoughtful campers travel and camp in small groups, keep the noise down, select campsites away from other groups, always travel and camp quietly, wear clothing and use gear that blends with the environment, respect private property, leave gates (open or closed) as found. Be considerate of other campers and respect their privacy.

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