Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

7 Principles of Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics


We are stewards of our rivers. We are responsible for their sustainability. Our rivers are wildly popular, and maintaining their pristine nature requires diligence from all of us. What if we all left our garbage, our empty beer cans, and our sanitary waste along the rivers? What kind of river experience would future boaters encounter? It becomes the responsibility of every user of our rivers to Leave No Trace.

There are 7 fundamental tenets of Leave No Trace that we can all follow:

1.  Plan ahead and prepare. Know and follow the regulations on the section of river you intend to float.

2.  Travel and camp on durable surfaces. Use gravel bars or existing campsites to lessen impact in pristine locations. Travel on established trails.

3.  Dispose of waste properly. Pack out all trash, food and litter. Solid human waste containment systems are required on the Middle and North Forks of the Flathead. Use minimal amounts of biodegradable soap and wash dishes away from water sources.

4.  Leave what you find. Preserve the past. Don’t disturb, damage or remove any natural, historic or archaeological features. Avoid introducing non-native species by cleaning equipment between trips.

5.  Minimize campfire impacts. Use a camp stove, fire pan or fire blanket. Use established fire rings and keep fires small.  Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfire completely, then scatter cooled ash. Pack out un-burned debris.

6.  Respect wildlife. Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed, approach or pursue wildlife. Use bear resistant containers for food storage. Control your pets.

7.  Be considerate of other visitors. Select a campsite out of sight and sound of other camps. Allow plenty of space when passing shore parties and other floaters.

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