The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (June 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Leave No Trace is a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation in the outdoors. It consists of seven principles:
These principles have been adapted to different activities, ecosystems and environments.
In the mid 20th-century there was a cultural shift in wilderness ethics from woodcraft where wilderness travelers prided themselves on their ability to rely on the resources of wild lands to a post-WWII ethics of minimal impact on the environment.Leave No Trace began in the 1960s and 1970s. There was a large increase of wilderness visitation following the creation of new recreational equipment such as white gas stoves, synthetic tents, and sleeping pads. This began a commercial interest in outdoor recreation which in turn caused more visitors to national parks. In those decades, the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service started to teach their non-motorized visitors how to have a minimal impact on the land. Wilderness Informational Specialists were trained to educate visitors on minimal impact camping in the different parks. In 1987 the three departments cooperatively developed a pamphlet titled "Leave No Trace Land Ethics".
Also in the 1970s, groups such as the Sierra Club were advocating minimum impact camping techniques. The Boy Scouts of America had been actively advocating training and implementation of Leave No Trace and outdoor ethics principles early in the 1970s at such places as Philmont Scout Ranch in Northern New Mexico. A pilot program in the 1980s between the BSA and the Bureau of Land Management in the High Uintas Wilderness tried to reach a wide audience.
The national education program of Leave No Trace was developed in 1990 by the United States Forest Service in conjunction with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). At the time the USFS also created other programs such as Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and previously in 1985 the Tread Lightly! program which was geared towards motorized recreation. The Bureau of Land Management joined the program in 1993 followed by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1994.
Leave No Trace provides a framework for outdoor recreation decision making, which is summarized in the following seven principles. Originally developed for the "backcountry", there are now also seven "frontcountry" principles as well:
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Two primary scientific disciplines form the foundation of the Leave No Trace program: recreation ecology and human dimensions of natural resources. Recreation ecology research, "a field of study that examines, assesses and monitors visitor impacts, typically to protected natural areas, and their relationships to influential factors" has provided the foundation for Leave No Trace messaging because of its focus on recreational impacts. Recreation ecology has dominated most minimum-impact research, and reviews suggest that there have been over one thousand recreation ecology articles published within recent decades. Examples include both ecological and social impacts of visitors. [ citation needed ] the largest determinant of impact, and human dimensions research, which focuses on the sociological, psychological, cultural, and economic aspects of recreationists is limited but growing with regard to Leave No Trace-related studies.Yet, the behavior of outdoor enthusiasts is perhaps
The majority of human dimensions research related to Leave No Trace has evaluated educational effectiveness through various communication strategies in an effort to increase knowledge and influence behavioral change. For example, studies have evaluated communication strategies to mitigate human and wildlife conflict, reduce litter, minimize removal of natural objects or deter off-trail hiking. Few studies have addressed Leave No Trace specifically, instead focusing on minimum-impact behaviors broadly, and even fewer studies have evaluated the most common user-group, frontcountry visitors. More recently, however, social scientists have explored concepts such as knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors of outdoor enthusiasts in the context of Leave No Trace practices, and have begun examining the perceptions of frontcountry visitors.
Scout troop Outdoor code is in the Boy Scout Handbook of 1955.
"As an American, I will do my best to...
'Be clean in my outdoor manners.' I will treat the outdoors as a heritage. I will take care of it for myself and others. I will keep my trash and garbage out of lakes, streams, fields, woods, and roadways.
'Be careful with fire.' I will prevent wildfire. I will build my fires only where they are appropriate. When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out. I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.
'Be considerate in the outdoors.' I will treat public and private property with respect. I will use low-impact methods of hiking and camping.
'Be conservation-minded.' I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, water, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife, and energy. I urge others to do the same."
|Headquarters||Boulder, CO, USA|
Since 1994, a Leave No Trace program has been managed by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors worldwide.
The Center's mission is to teach people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. This mission is accomplished through education, research, volunteerism and partnerships. Leave No Trace tries to build awareness, appreciation and respect for wildlands.
The Center's youth education initiative, Leave No Trace for Every Kid, emphasizes asset development in youth through the lens of outdoor stewardship. Leave No Trace for Every Kid is shaped and inspired by the rich diversity of youth and their communities that have found joy, discovery and learning through the outdoors.
The Center has partnerships with the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,US Army Corps of Engineers, and other partners such as colleges, universities, outfitter/guide services, small businesses, non-profits and youth serving organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America and the American Camp Association.
There are also formal Leave No Trace organisations in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.
Despite the fact that Leave No Trace is a widely accepted conservationist ethic, there has been a good amount of criticism. Environmental historian James Morton Turner argued in 2002 that Leave No Trace focused attention of backpackers "largely on protecting wilderness as a recreational landscape" rather than tackling larger questions, such as "the modern economy, consumerism, and the environment".Turner also argues that this ethic omitted the calculus behind it, and the code itself, in his view, "helped ally the modern backpacker with the wilderness recreation industry" by encouraging backpackers to practice the Leave No Trace ethic while in the wilderness and to keep an eye out for the logo of this ethic in shopping malls.
Gregory Simon and Peter Alagona had a different argument, saying in a 2009 article that there should be a move beyond Leave No Trace. They argued that this ethic "disguises much about human relationships with non-human nature" because it makes it seem that parks and wilderness areas are "pristine nature" which in their view, "erases their human histories, and prevents people from understanding how these landscapes have developed over time through complex human–environment interactions".In the place of this ethic, they say that there should be a new environmental ethic "that transforms the critical scholarship of social science into a critical practice of wilderness recreation, addresses the global economic system...and reinvents wilderness recreation as a more collaborative, participatory, productive, democratic, and radical form of political action". In the article they also write about how certain corporations in the outdoor recreation industry and magazines like National Geographic support Leave No Trace (LNT), but that in stores for outdoor recreation products like REI, "the LNT logo becomes both a corporate brand and an official stamp of approval".
The authors also argue that because LNT "focuses on the immediate, local impacts of recreational use while ignoring larger issues of change over time and connections through space" it has what they consider "two conceptual flaws": the idea that the current wilderness is in a "natural, pristine condition" and the obscuring of the "spatial connections between what takes place inside parks and wilderness areas and what occurs outside".The authors note that additionally, this ethic is limited in scope, offering "a code of conduct calibrated to the particular, limited, and arbitrary geographic scale of parks and wilderness areas". They articulate their new environmental ethic as expanding LNT, not rejecting it all together, expanding its "spatial scale beyond the boundaries of parks and wilderness areas...broaden[ing] LNT’s ethical purview to include the global economic systems that make contemporary American wilderness recreation possible", redefining recreationists rather than "passive ethical subjects and consumers, to active participants in collaborative programs" and in sum, "a more democratic, more participatory, and more radical vision of outdoor recreation as a form of political action". Near the end of the article, the authors articulate the seven principles of what they call 'Beyond Leave No Trace':
Three years later, Simon and Alagona responded to critiques of their 2009 article calling for a 'Beyond Leave No Trace' approach. They argued that they were not the first to explore LNT's history, that they "joined a growing chorus of researchers", and importantly that they "remain steadfast in our endorsement of LNT’s value and potential" but that they believe that "this simple ethic is not enough in a world of global capital circulation where the goods we produce and consume in order to enjoy the outdoors can have long-term and far-reaching social and environmental ramifications".While dismissing the concerns of critics, they write that, firstly, Leave No Trace "could not exist in its current form without a plethora of consumer products;" secondly, that "the use of such products does not erase environmental impacts;" and thirdly that LNT "systematically obscures these impacts, displacements, and connections by encouraging the false belief that it is possible to 'leave no trace'".
Other critics of Leave No Trace have argued that it is impractical, displaces environmental impacts to other locations, "obscures connections between the uses of outdoor products and their production and disposal impacts" and have questioned how much the ethic affects everyday environmental behavior.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Leave-no-trace camping .|
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a non-profit group in the United States whose mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land through service opportunities, outdoor skills, and leadership training.
Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) is the oldest outdoor group in the United States. Created in 1876 to explore and preserve the White Mountains in New Hampshire, it has expanded throughout the northeastern U.S., with 12 chapters stretching from Maine to Washington, D.C. The AMC's 275,000 members, advocates, and supporters mix outdoor recreation, particularly hiking and backpacking, with environmental activism. Additional activities include cross-country skiing, whitewater and flatwater canoeing and kayaking, sea kayaking, sailing, rock climbing and bicycle riding. The Club has about 2,700 volunteers, who lead roughly 7,000 trips and activities per year. The organization publishes a number of books, guides, and trail maps.
Aldo Leopold was an American author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac (1949), which has sold more than two million copies.
Philmont Scout Ranch is a ranch located in Colfax County, New Mexico, near the village of Cimarron; it covers 140,177 acres of wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rocky Mountains. Donated by oil baron Waite Phillips, the ranch is owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America. It is a National High Adventure Base where crews of Scouts and Venturers take part in backpacking treks and other outdoor activities. By land area, it is one of the largest youth camps in the world. During the season, between June 8 and August 22, an estimated 22,000 Scouts and adult leaders backpack through the Ranch's extensive backcountry. More than 1,130 seasonal staff are responsible for the Ranch's summer operations.
Camping is an outdoor activity involving overnight stays away from home in a shelter, such as a tent or a recreational vehicle. Typically participants leave developed areas to spend time outdoors in more natural ones in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment. The night is spent outdoors distinguishes camping it from day-tripping, picnicking, and other similarly short-term recreational activities.
NOLS - also known as the National Outdoor Leadership School is a non-profit outdoor education school based in the United States dedicated to teaching environmental ethics, technical outdoors skills, wilderness medicine, risk management and judgment, and leadership on extended wilderness expeditions and in traditional classrooms. The NOLS mission is to be the leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment. NOLS runs courses on six continents, with courses in a variety of wilderness environments and for almost any age group.
Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one's back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often but not always an extended journey, and may or may not involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts widely found in Europe are rare. In New Zealand, tramping is the term applied though overnight huts are frequently used. Hill walking is an equivalent in Britain, though backpackers make use of all kinds of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Trekking and bushwalking are other word used to describe such multi-day trips.
J. Baird Callicott is an American philosopher whose work has been at the forefront of the new field of environmental philosophy and ethics. He is a University Distinguished Research Professor and a member of the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies and the Institute of Applied Sciences at the University of North Texas. Callicott held the position of Professor of Philosophy and Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point from 1969 to 1995, where he taught the world's first course in environmental ethics in 1971. From 1994 to 2000, he served as Vice President then President of the International Society for Environmental Ethics. Other distinguished positions include visiting professor of philosophy at Yale University; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of Hawai’i; and the University of Florida.
The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about half a kilometer. The mountains are on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County, Colorado, United States, about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Aspen. Both peaks are fourteeners. Maroon Peak, at 14,163 feet (4317 m), is the 27th highest peak in Colorado. North Maroon Peak, at 14,019 feet (4273 m), is the 50th highest. The view of the Maroon Bells to the southwest from the Maroon Creek valley is very heavily photographed. The peaks are located in the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness was one of five areas in Colorado designated as wilderness in the original Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness area surrounds the extremely popular Maroon Bells Scenic Area, which is a major access point for Wilderness travel.
The Ten Essentials are survival items that hiking and Scouting organizations recommend for safe travel in the backcountry.
The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) of the United States protects federally managed wilderness areas designated for preservation in their natural condition. Activity on formally designated wilderness areas is coordinated by the National Wilderness Preservation System. Wilderness areas are managed by four federal land management agencies: the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The term "wilderness" is defined as "an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" and "an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions." As of 2019, there are 803 designated wilderness areas, totaling 111,368,221 acres (45,069,120 ha), or about 4.5% of the area of the United States.
The Blood Mountain Wilderness was designated in 1991 and currently consists of 7,800 acres (32 km2). The Wilderness is located within the borders of the Chattahoochee National Forest in Lumpkin County and Union County, Georgia. The Wilderness is managed by the United States Forest Service and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. In November, 1999, three fires burned through parts of the Blood Mountain Wilderness and the Chatahoochee National Forest. Fire crews came from across the nation to help fight the fires.
Trail ethics deals with ethics as it applies to the use of trails. It is similar to both environmental ethics and human rights in that it deals with the shared interaction of humans and nature. There are multiple agencies and groups that support and encourage ethical behavior on trails.
Jennie Lakes Wilderness is a protected area in the Sierra Nevada, in Tulare County, California. It is located 60 miles (97 km) east of Fresno and managed by the US Forest Service.
Recreation ecology is the scientific study of environmental impacts resulting from recreational activity in protected natural areas. This field of study includes research and monitoring assessments of biophysical changes, analyses to identify causal and influential factors or support carrying capacity planning and management, and investigations of the efficacy of educational, regulatory, and site management actions designed to minimize recreation impacts. While studies of human trampling can be traced back to the late 1920s, a substantial body of recreation ecology literature did not accumulate until the 1970s when visitation to the outdoors soared, threatening the ecology of natural and semi-natural areas.
The Snow Mountain Wilderness is a 60,076-acre (243.12 km2) federally designated wilderness area located 65 miles (105 km) north of Santa Rosa, California, USA in the Mendocino National Forest. The U.S. Congress passed the California Wilderness Act of 1984 which created 23 new wilderness areas including Snow Mountain. It lies within the North Coast Range of mountains.
Outdoor recreation or outdoor activity refers to recreation engaged in out of doors, most commonly in natural settings. The activities themselves — such as fishing, hunting, backpacking, and horseback riding — are characteristically dependent on the environment practiced in.
The Phillip Burton Wilderness is part of the 111 sq. mile (288 km2) Point Reyes National Seashore located about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of San Francisco, California. Total wilderness land is 33,373 acres which includes a roadless "potential wilderness" area of over 8,000 acres (32 km2) and is one of only three designated wilderness along the California coast, the others being the King Range Wilderness and the Rocks and Islands Wilderness. The National Park Service manages the wilderness.
Recreation resource planning is the application of analytical tools to a systematic and deliberate process of decision making about the future management of recreation resources and recreation opportunities.
The Ventana Wilderness Alliance, founded in 1998, is a group dedicated to preserving and protecting public lands along California's Big Sur coast. Its mission is to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness qualities and biodiversity of the public lands within California's Northern Santa Lucia Mountains and Big Sur region.