Updated: May 18
First of all when traveling in the wilderness you should always follow the Leave No Trace Ethics!
Each of us plays a vital role in protecting our national parks. As we spend time outdoors, in the natural world and in wilderness, it’s important to be conscious of the effects our actions may have on plants, animals, other people, and even entire ecosystems. Following the Leave No Trace Seven Principles, summarized below, can help us minimize those impacts. They can be applied anywhere, at any time, while taking part in recreational activities.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
Repackage food to minimize waste.
Use a map and compass or GPS to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Durable surfaces include maintained trails and designated campsites, rock, gravel, sand, dry grasses or snow.
Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
In popular areas:
Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
In pristine areas:
Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite, food preparation areas, and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter. Even though an orange peel may be biodegradable it will take years to decompose, Pack it all out!
Utilize toilet facilities whenever possible.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
Liquid waste only can go in the river, dilution is the solution to pollution
Leave What You Find
Preserve the past: examine, photograph, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light!
Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
Keep fires small. Bring your own wood, no more than what you can burn 3 pieces?
Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then pack out your cold ashes.
Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, [habituates them to humans], and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
Step to the downhill side of the trail
Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
Pack light it's easier, the essentials !
Food that doesn't need refrigeration or cooking(river is 48 degrees for cold drinks)
Jet Boil food if you want something hot
Salty snacks help keep you hydrated and body working properly in the heat
Water 1 Gallon/person/day or 4 L or filter
Medications you may be taking
GPS, Phone with a waterproof bag (Phone service exists in most of GCNRA
Extra warm clothes in case you get wet. Hypothermia is a killer, and you may not need it, but someone else may, be a hero! Sunburn can hamper your thermal regulator
Sleeping Pad (Bugs are minimal)
Tent or tarp (Check the weather)
Trash bag for basura "yours and others" it takes a village
If you have a pet, bring pet wag bags and clean it up! Be responsible, keep the resource, fail and lose privileges for everyone
***If the wind comes up and you feel unsafe, pull over and have a snack, wind comes in pulses and subsides. Know the difference between danger and inconvenience.(Check the weather before you go)