Maryland Outdoor Club

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace Logo

The Maryland Ourdoor Club is pleased to be a supporter of Leave No Trace and encourages everyone to leave the environment in a responsible manner when they are finished with each club event. You can accomplish this by utilizing the seven simple Leave No Trace principles below:

Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors



Seven Principles of Leave No Trace


1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the rules and regulations 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.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, 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.
  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy
  • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
  • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in privy toilet found on all backcountry campsite and on some popular portages.
  • If away from a privy dig a cathole, 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap.

4. Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, 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.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings.
  • Keep fires small. Use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, upon departure ashes should be cool to the touch.

6. Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Follow the bear safety rules
  • Control leashed pets at all times, or leave them at home.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail, especially those who carry canoes or heavy loads.
  • Take breaks away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
  • Keep cell phones and other electronic devices on "vibrate" or "silent" mode or better yet, turned off until really needed.

Learn more about Leave No Trace