With the arrival of summer, we’re looking forward to some great camping trips in our home state of Colorado! With many campers heading for the hills this season, we thought it would be a good time to offer a few Leave No Trace camping tips.
Originally developed by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and other land management agencies, there are seven Leave No Trace Principles.
Here are some ways you can employ the principles on your upcoming adventures:
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
As you plan for a great summer season of camping, be sure to review the regulations for areas you plan to visit. Check on the latest before your trip, since conditions can change rapidly.
Whenever possible, do your best to avoid areas that receive heavy use, especially on holidays and on busy weekends. If your group for a trip appears to be large, you might be better off splitting into two separate groups.
Be prepared with all the gear and supplies you need ahead of time. Don’t forget heavy duty trash bags and other necessary items to keep your campsite clean.
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Always use designated trails and campsites whenever possible. Campers should select sites that are least 200 feet from any lake or stream. If you’re camping in a wilderness area or somewhere without established campsites, try to select a site where you’ll have the least amount of impact. Setting up tents on dry grass or gravel are usually good options.
Here in Colorado, we enjoy many trails and wilderness areas that are above timberline. Remember that these tundra environments are particularly fragile. Stick to designated trails and dry to avoid new “braids” on trails in these alpine environments.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
If you pack it in, it’s your responsibility to pack it out. With more and more people using the backcountry these days, it’s up to all of us to help keep our wild places clean. It’s always unfortunate to discover someone else’s toilet paper or other waste. Don’t be that person.
Where available, always use designated latrines. If there are no latrine facilities, solid human waste should be deposited in catholes that are at least 6 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water sources, camps and trails. Once the hole is covered, replace the leaf litter or otherwise disguise its presence.
On your camping trips, remember to bring an extra bowl for washing dishes and other cleanup needs. Use a small amount of biodegradable soap and be sure to discard it at least 200 feet away from water sources.
4. Leave What You Find
We love finding remnants of the past when we’re exploring wild places. But remember not to touch or remove any historic artifacts. What’s more, avoid introducing any non-native species, which includes live bait used for fishing.
When you set up your camp, keep in mind that you’ll need to leave it with no trace of having been there. So don’t build structures or dig trenches.
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
Be sure to check the most up-to-date fire information before your trip. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings or fire pans. Use wood that’s already down and dead. Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure it’s completely out. Scatter the cool ashes and leave the area just as you found it.
6. Respect Wildlife
Keep wildlife wild. Becoming habituated to humans is never in the best interest of wildlife. Never feed or approach wild animals. Observe them from a distance and keep pets on a leash to avoid unnecessary stress to wildlife.
At night, keep your food locked in a car and never in your tent. If you’re in the backcountry, food can be hung safely out of reach.
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Remember that you’re not the only one out to enjoy a great outdoor experience. Keep noise to a minimum, and be respectful of other users.
In the United States, we’re fortunate to have 640 million acres of public lands. 24 million acres of that is right here surrounding our Koyukon headquarters in Colorado. Whether you hike, bike, paddle, ski, fish, hunt, climb, or camp, these public lands are a national treasure and the backbone of our recreation lifestyle. Help keep them beautiful!
We hope you’re able to get out and enjoy some camping and backcountry adventures this summer! For more information on Koyukon gear, please explore the rest of our website.