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Questions tagged [leave-no-trace]

Questions related to outdoor ethics including considerations for outdoor activities and the impact on the environment. This tag can also be used for questions related to the 'Leave No Trace Seven Principles' from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

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49 votes
8 answers
11k views

When should I avoid geotagging?

I did not use to think of geotagging photos as a leave-no-trace issue. In fact, one slogan says leave only footprints, take only photos. Yet the Leave No Trace Social Media Guidance states: Tag ...
gerrit's user avatar
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42 votes
2 answers
12k views

Impact of throwing away fruit waste on a peak > 3200 m above a glacier

Is it okay to throw away the non-edible part of the apple - the apple core / or in general fruit waste? Does it decompose on the rock (maybe with the help of animals) and temperature, or does it ...
cerv21's user avatar
  • 1,047
35 votes
10 answers
9k views

Trumpeting while backpacking?

I am a professional trumpet player getting ready for my first backpacking trip. I'm equipped with a plastic trumpet that I'll clip on my pack. Now I'm starting to wonder about the best way to keep my ...
Daveduder 's user avatar
32 votes
6 answers
10k views

Is burying human waste always the lowest-impact solution?

According to leave-no-trace principles, one should bury human waste (poo). But burying damages plants and roots. Is this really always better than not burying it and pooing on the surface? (Of ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
31 votes
12 answers
15k views

Toothpaste in the back-country and the principle of leave no trace

I am a staunch proponent of leave no trace. I don't carry dish detergent (sand and small rocks work much better on stainless steel anyways,) and I don't use soap or shampoo, not even of the ...
DudeOnRock's user avatar
  • 7,491
30 votes
8 answers
4k views

What should I do about large trash left by others on USFS land?

When you find large trash items left by others in less accessible places, what should be done? The exact scenario: We were hiking a ten mile trail on US Forestry Service land with river crossings and ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
29 votes
5 answers
5k views

What are some things to keep in mind when stealth camping?

Stealth Camping definition: Stealth camping is the act of quietly finding a place away from people where you can camp for the night and then quickly slip away in the morning without being detected. ...
sixtyfootersdude's user avatar
28 votes
3 answers
22k views

What's the problem with burying toilet paper?

In the backcountry, we should bury solid human waste (i.e. poop), and we are told to carry out toilet paper. According to this answer on tissues, for some kinds of waste the ecological impact is ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
25 votes
12 answers
21k views

What kind of mementos, if any, am I allowed to collect from State and National parks in small quantities?

What kind of mementos am I allowed to collect from State and National parks in small quantities, if any? I am especially wondering about: pebbles, shells, sea-urchin-skeletons, sand-dollar-skeletons (...
DudeOnRock's user avatar
  • 7,491
25 votes
2 answers
3k views

When is it not OK to leave feces behind?

I saw this article recently. I also know that human solid (not sure about liquid) waste is collected in buckets on river trips down the Grand Canyon. What are some basic guidelines for determining ...
amphibient's user avatar
  • 4,053
24 votes
2 answers
5k views

Leave-no-trace-exception for tissues?

I'm absolutely harsh when it comes to littering in the woods. After a break I take an extra turn to check if everything was picked up. Someone accidentally left a tissue on the last tour and I put it ...
OddDeer's user avatar
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22 votes
3 answers
13k views

When is it OK to hike off trail?

I visited my local forest preserve recently (in a suburb of Chicago, IL) and found new signs every mile or so that read something to the effect of Please stay on the trail so as to preserve the ...
drapkin11's user avatar
  • 323
21 votes
7 answers
8k views

What's the best way to dispose of a body in the backcountry? [closed]

Suppose you needed to dispose of a large carcass for one reason or another while in the backcountry... what would be the best way to dispose of it in the woods so that it wouldn't be discovered? You ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
21 votes
4 answers
10k views

What is the Leave No Trace way to dispose of coffee grounds?

If one makes coffee in the backcountry, there will be used grounds. Coffee grounds are biodegradable, but should one instead pack them out completely? What is the Leave No Trace way to deal with used ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
1k views

How do you properly dispose of human waste while snow camping?

Assuming the cat-hole is the preferred protocol for waste disposal in the area you are backpacking, what should you do when the soil is buried below A LOT of snow, and/or frozen?
Lost's user avatar
  • 19k
20 votes
4 answers
3k views

How to minimise erosion damage to footpaths when walking?

As a fair-weather walker I frequently find myself on routes that have suffered from erosion due to the large numbers of people hiking along them. I wish to cause the least possible amount of further ...
Brian Hooper's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
11k views

Washing clothes on long hikes

I'm looking for a good solution for clothing (or clothes washing) on long hikes with the following considerations Southeastern United States, Appalachians We hike light 10+ day trips I don't want to ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
5k views

What is considered a water source, and why is it recommended to camp so far from them?

I've read one one of the US national forest or wilderness websites that when camping in the wild, one should camp at a certain distance from a water source. Should I understand a water source to mean ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
19 votes
2 answers
4k views

How long does it take for trash to become a historical artifact (in the United States)?

How long does it take for trash like beer cans, old mattress springs, or glass bottles to go from trash and need to be packed out to being a historic artifact with archaeological significance?
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
615 views

Where is the optimal place to do dishes in the backcountry?

I just came back from a backpacking trip in an alpine area. I was cleaning some kitchen items (pot, spork, pan, etc) with some remnant food particles that were coming off. I use a very small amount of ...
Eric's user avatar
  • 2,138
17 votes
1 answer
905 views

What are the principles of Leave no Trace?

What are the fundamental principles of leaving no trace in the backcountry?
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
16 votes
4 answers
7k views

Can I use a trail camera to identify a roadside litterer?

The roadside in our semi-rural area is relatively litter free. With very few exceptions, it can be easily picked up with one hand, and is not gross. But one litterer is getting to me. He (or she) ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
16 votes
5 answers
20k views

How to make a fire without burning the ground

I was wondering if there was a way to make a fire pit and start a fire in it, and have a way to protect the ground beneith it as much as possible. I don't really know how I could manage to do that, ...
Romain Braun's user avatar
16 votes
4 answers
6k views

Should I close a cathole (toilet-hole) at night?

I have made camp for one or more nights in a pristine wilderness. It may be desert, tundra, or a forested environment. At a suitable distance from camp, I have dug a nice cathole (toilet-hole) and ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
15 votes
2 answers
365 views

Is it better to camp in a disturbed area, or pick a new spot and let the first rest?

When practicing Leave No Trace camping (which I am sure we all do), which camp spot should I choose, assuming there is not an obvious well-impacted "sacrifice site" nearby to concentrate my impact in: ...
Lost's user avatar
  • 19k
14 votes
2 answers
7k views

What are the best methods to clean out a fire pits and dispose of the ash?

Are there any recommended methods for disposing of ash from fire pits while primitive camping? I have run into several fire pits in National and State forest camping areas where the fire pit or fire ...
Eliot G York's user avatar
  • 1,172
13 votes
6 answers
2k views

Leave no Trace: Are campfires unethical?

According to the Centre for Outdoor Ethics: "The use of campfires, once a necessity for cooking and warmth, is steeped in history and tradition [...] the natural appearance of many areas has been ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
12 votes
4 answers
5k views

Trail marking material that will last a few years

I'm currently trying to remark a trail that seems to be forgotten or had very little use in the past few years. The markers that remain (different types of ribbon) are fraying or crumbling depending ...
WaterMolecule's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
488 views

How to get rid of illegal artificial paints on historical monuments?

India is known for its historical monuments and Caves are essential part of them. While among them, almost all major tourist attractions are very well conserved and looked after, unfortunately some of ...
WedaPashi's user avatar
  • 31.7k
10 votes
2 answers
321 views

From the point of view of wildlife, what is the most dangerous component of roadside litter?

As my other litter question stated, I live on a semi-rural road, and about twice a year pick up litter from the verge. Others pick up litter too, but there are swathes of floodplain land, ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Tips for using a "wag bag" to pack out human waste

I've been an avid lover of the outdoors for all of my life, camping in quite varied terrain, but so far in all these locations I've been able to use the usual LNT cat-hole methods to take care of ...
montane's user avatar
  • 5,585
9 votes
4 answers
342 views

How to introduce individuals to the concept of Leave No Trace

How do I prioritize teaching about the concept of Leave No Trace to someone who is unfamiliar with it, without coming across as off-putting because there are so many rules?
DudeOnRock's user avatar
  • 7,491
9 votes
1 answer
505 views

Is it an acceptable Leave no Trace practice to bury ruined food?

I am only considering those situations where human waste can be buried, since if that has to be carried out in a wag bag, then the food should be as well. If someone burns the oatmeal to a crisp, or ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
844 views

Why aren't the mule trains outfitters required to clean up after their animals?

When we venture into the wilderness, we bury our solid human waste (or may even have to pack it out in some places). The basic guideline is to not leave faeces anywhere where it can be discovered or ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
8 votes
2 answers
247 views

Where does uncommon litter come from?

On my last tour I've found a lot of litter in the woods again. While I do my best to get things out, I was not able to take an old oil barrel and a care tire with me =). However, these two items made ...
OddDeer's user avatar
  • 23.5k
8 votes
2 answers
407 views

What can I do to discourage people from littering in the back country?

There are few feelings worse than hiking deep into an area that should be pristine and finding garbage. What are some steps that I could take to help prevent or lessen this?
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
688 views

How to deal with diarrhea when using a cathole in the wilderness?

I was sitting and thinking last night... If you have gas and loose stool (diarrhea) and you are squatting over a cathole in the wilderness how do keep your pants and foot wear clean? Related ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
195 views

What is the leave no trace thing to do when parallel trails start to form?

Sometimes in areas with sandy/muddy ground, multiple parallel trails will start to form. What is the least impactful way to walk a trail like this? Do you stay on whichever trail shows the most ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

What's the purpose of the huge amount of stone piles on the trails in Gran Canaria

I went for a few hikes in Gran Canaria. The trails were perfectly signposted and everything. My beautiful experience was a little bit disturbed by the sheer amount of stone piles everywhere. You ...
OddDeer's user avatar
  • 23.5k
7 votes
3 answers
382 views

Less impact to camp above or below the tree line?

What has less impact from an ecological point of view — camping below or above the tree line? US and Swiss organisations appear to contradict each other: From the American lnt.org comes the advise (...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
7 votes
3 answers
474 views

Is there a Leave No Trace equivalent specifically for boaters?

This question lists the principles of Leave No Trace, taken from the Center for Outdoor Ethics website. While the general principals apply to many types of outdoor activities, this particular set ...
Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
447 views

Is it within Leave No Trace to spread someone's ashes in a wilderness area?

While in the Wind River Mountains, I found a bronze plaque that marked the spot where a person's ashes where scattered, and while that was done in the early 1930s, it made me wonder if it would still ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
208 views

How to minimize impact on terrain at camp?

I recently went backpacking above treeline in Colorado. It was in a National Wilderness and there were no designated camping areas. Finding a flat enough spot for 3 tents proved to be difficult at ...
Brad's user avatar
  • 161
6 votes
3 answers
453 views

Groups: What are proper occasions for a large, shared hole for waste?

So of course the common standard for proper burying of solid human waste is burial in a cat-hole, and generally this means one hole per instance per person. This is what I practice and teach on ...
montane's user avatar
  • 5,585
6 votes
2 answers
285 views

What is an effective technique for plogging?

See this article on plogging, from the Washington Post Swedish Fitness Craze Coming to the US (March 06, 2018): Have you recently spotted people toting trash bags while jogging? Or their hands ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
6 votes
1 answer
201 views

Organization or posters for "Leave No Trace" in Sweden

Is there any organizations for "Leave No Trace" in Sweden? I'm looking for literature that outlines the "Leave No Trace" ethics in Swedish. I've been doing some trekking in ...
HoboHacker's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
690 views

What's is the Leave No Trace way to dispose of loose tea leaves?

It's possible to buy tea that is loose leaf instead on in the tea bags and use it while in the outdoors such as cold brewing in a Nalgene. Coffee grounds need to be packed out but what about tea ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
630 views

What is the safe distance of washing with biodegradable soap?

I just bought a kitchen sink from STS (it is "just" a bag) which says to use it at least 100 meters from water. Since one can use the sink to do anything the distance seems valid, but I ...
greenoldman's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
500 views

What is this plastic net with a wide middle and bottom that looks like an upside-down flower hanging from a tree?

We recently (July, 2019) went to Bar Harbor, Maine, United States, to visit friends who live on the ocean. My husband took a walk on an established path (he's very serious about Leave No Trace) at the ...
Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is dryer lint worth using as a fire starter even if it's also a pollutant?

I have been reading about dryer lint as an effective kindling material, but I keep having the feeling that in some way it implies burning "plastic": all the artificial materials, coloring (although it ...
Akabelle's user avatar
  • 2,832