Leave No Trace
The US Forest Service developed the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace in the 1960’s when seeing the increased impact on trails…
1. Plan ahead & prepare
2. Dispose of waste properly
3. Hike & camp on durable surfaces
4. Leave what you find
5. Minimize campfire impacts
6. Respect wildlife
7. Be considerate of others
As more and more people enjoy hiking and camping in our wilderness areas it becomes more important to lesson our impact. In many areas our trails are becoming SO loved by so many that garbage and damage in our wild areas is becoming abundant.
Everyone, both avid and beginner hikers can enjoy the outdoors by doing these simple things to keep our wilder area ready for the next generation.
Prepare – research trail info, weather forcasts, trail conditions, & any regulations (permits, closures, etc) of where you are going.
Dispose of Waste – Pack out all garbage, including banana peels, egg shells, apple cores, toilet paper, essentially anything you bring in.
Hike – Stay on the trail, just a few bootsteps cripples vegetation. Alpine terrian is fragile & can take years to regrow. If muddy, don’t walk around it, walk through it (yuk, I know!) If on switchbacks don’t cut across to be quicker. So many of our trails are created by volunteers to save our wilderness. Respect their hard work for our pleasure. More on Hiking Etiquette.
Leave it – We have all brought home a wildflower, or a rock. Try leaving it where nature left it and take pictures instead. Occasionally you will find historical items in Colorado. Please leave those too!
Campfire – Are negative impacts! If possilbe, don’t have a campfire. Use a camp stove to cook. Many areas in Colorado have fire bans, check for regulations in areas you plan on being in.
Respecting wildlife – This is there home. Give them space, watch from a distance, never feed them, and keep your dog & kids close.