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What Is Leave No Trace?

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

If you’ve gone camping at a state or national park anytime in the last twenty-plus years, I am sure you have seen or heard the words Leave No Trace (LNT). What you might not know is all the other things that the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics provides. They are a resource for proven research, education, and protection of the outdoors.


Nine out of ten people who visit the wilderness are uninformed about minimizing their impact on the land.

I first experienced Leave No Trace shortly after joining the Boy Scouts. I care so deeply about the wild places we visit that I took an LNT Trainer course. The trainer course was a two-day program that is a condensed version of their Master Educator Course. It was not


only an in-depth course on the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, but it always gave me skills on educating others on ways to reduce our impact on the natural world around us. With that knowledge, I became a leader to anyone that would listen on the ways of the Leave No Trace. When I go backpacking, I still carry these plastic LNT tags that describe the principles, and I will


give them away to those I meet on the trail as a gesture for them to also take care of the places we are visiting.

Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

  1. plan ahead and prepare,

  2. travel and camp on durable surfaces,

  3. leave what you find,

  4. minimize campfire impacts,

  5. respect wildlife,

  6. be considerate of other visitors.

I’m recommitting to my knowledge of the LNT Principles by taking their Online Awareness Course. The training will freshen me up on ways to better understand recreation-related impacts, the Seven Principles, and how LNT skills and ethics protect the wild places I visit.

Here is a breakdown of what the course covers:

  1. Learn why Leave No Trace is an important program that protects the environment.

  2. Be able to identify ways you can apply the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.

  3. Learn how Leave No Trace addresses issues in your region so that you may take action to minimize the impact, where you are.

  4. Learn how the mission and approach of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (The Center) helps to promote people to responsibly enjoy the outdoors.

  5. Recognize the different educational programs offered by the Center to find out the best way to get involved with the Leave No Trace program.


The natural world is facing severe threats. Making sure people know and practice Leave No Trace is critical, so we all can enjoy these places today and in the future.

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