Leave No Trace

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ADK is a proud partner of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, an organization devoted to teaching people how to minimize their impacts. ADK is one of eleven national providers of Leave No Trace Master Educator courses and our Three Seasons at Heart Lake school program is accredited by Leave No Trace. We also incorporate Leave No Trace principles into all guided trips, workshops, and volunteer programs.

The 7 Leave No Trace Principles are not rules, but rather a set of tools to empower each of us to become stewards of public lands through our actions. Read below to learn more about them and their importance to low-impact recreation in the Adirondack Park.

The 7 Leave No Trace Principles

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special considerations for the area you’ll be visiting.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Always leave your itinerary with someone at home.
  • Travel in small groups to minimize impacts.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Hike in the middle of the trail; walk through (not around) puddles/mud.
  • Stay off of vegetation; walk on rocks where possible.
  • Camp in designated sites where possible.
  • In other areas, don’t camp within 150 feet of water, trail, or a road.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack out all trash (including toilet paper), leftover food, and litter.
  • Use existing privies or dig a 6-8 inch deep cathole at least 150 feet from water.
  • Wash yourself and dishes at least 150 feet from water. If needed, use only small amounts of biodegradable soap.

4. Leave What You Find

  • Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Let photos, drawings, or journals help capture your memories.
  • Do not build structures or furniture or dig trenches.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Use a portable stove to avoid the lasting impact of a fire.
  • Where fires are permitted, use existing fire rings and collect only downed wood.
  • Burn all fires to ash, put out campfires completely, and hide traces of fire

6. Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance.
  • Avoid wildlife during mating, nesting, and other sensitive times.
  • Control pets at all times, and clean up after them.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Let natural sounds prevail; avoid loud sounds and voices.
  • Be courteous and yield to other users; take breaks to one side of the trail.

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