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Leave No Trace Seven Principles

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Experiencing Sonoma County through the "Leave No Trace Seven Principles" gives travelers an opportunity to make a difference. Together, we can protect and preserve this special corner of the world for generations to come. Find more info about sustainable travel in Sonoma County here.

 

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Principle 1: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • Be prepared! Remember food and water, and clothes to protect you from cold, heat and rain.
  • Use maps to plan where you’re going. Check them along the way so you’ll stay on course and won’t get lost.
  • Remember to bring a leash for your pet and plastic bags to pick up your pet’s waste.
  • Learn about the areas you plan to visit. Read books, check online and talk to people before you go. The more you know, the more fun you’ll have.

Principle 2: STICK TO TRAILS AND CAMP OVERNIGHT RIGHT

  • Walk and ride on designated trails to protect trailside plants.
  • Do not step on flowers or small trees. Once damaged, they may not grow back.
  • Respect private property by staying on designated trails.
  • Camp only on existing or designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Don’t dig trenches or build structures in your campsite.

Principle 3: TRASH YOUR TRASH AND PICK UP POOP

  • Pack it in, Pack it out. Put litter–even crumbs, peels and cores–in garbage bags and carry it home.
  • Use bathrooms or outhouses when available. If not available, bury human waste in a small hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet or 70 big steps from water.
  • Use a plastic bag to pack out your pet’s poop to a garbage can.
  • Keep water clean. Do not put soap, food, or human or pet waste in lakes or streams.

Principle 4: LEAVE IT AS YOU FIND IT

  • Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others can enjoy them.
  • Treat living plants with respect. Carving, hacking or peeling plants may kill them.

Principle 5: BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE

  •  Use a camp stove for cooking. Stoves are easier to cook on and create less impact than a fire.
  • If you want to have a campfire, be sure it’s permitted and safe to build a fire in the area you’re visiting. Use only existing fire rings to protect the ground from heat. Keep your fire small.
  • Remember, a campfire isn’t a garbage can. Pack out all trash and food.
  • Firewood should be either bought from a local vendor or gathered on site if allowed. Don’t bring firewood from home – it can harbor tree killing insects and diseases. Many states regulate the movement of untreated firewood.
  • Before gathering any firewood, check local regulations.
  • Burn all wood to ash and be sure the fire is completely out and cold before you leave.

Principle 6: KEEP WILDLIFE WILD

  • Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed or follow them.
  • Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them starts bad habits.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by securely storing your meals and trash.

Principle 7: SHARE OUR TRAILS AND MANAGE YOUR PET

  • Be considerate when passing others on the trail.
  • Keep your pet under control to protect it, other visitors and wildlife.
  • Listen to nature. Avoid making loud noises or yelling. You will see more wildlife if you are quiet.
  • Be sure the fun you have outdoors does not bother anyone else. Remember, other visitors are there to enjoy the outdoors too.

©2004 Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.