Leave No Trace in the Outdoors

Leave No Trace in the Outdoors

Help protect our mountains for you and future generations. Leave No Trace is a national program which promotes the protection of our nation's wildlands through education, research, and partnerships. It builds awareness, appreciation, and respect for America's public lands by teaching minimum impact skills and wildland ethics.

It's simple. At its heart it is a set of seven principles which can be applied in any natural setting to minimize human impacts on the environment. Whether you are hiking and camping in the park's wilderness or driving for an afternoon, please keep these in mind.

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace:

1. Planning ahead for your visit is the first step in helping preserve the outdoors and your experience here. Know and follow park regulations. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces including established trails and campsites, rocks, gravel, and grasses. Stay on trails to keep from trampling fragile vegetation. Avoid shortcutting trails; shortcuts create new trails and increase trail erosion.

3. Keep the forest clean! Pack it in; pack it out. Pack out all trash and food scraps from backcountry/wilderness areas. When backpacking, deposit solid human waste in a hole at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet from water, camp, and park trails.

4. Leave our plants, animals, rocks, and artifacts where they belong. Preserve the sense of discovery for others by leaving all natural and cultural artifacts as you find them. Take a photo!

5. Minimize campfire impacts, and know the areas and times that campfires are prohibited. Embers can travel for miles and cause forest fires.

6. Respect wildlife in their home. Carry binoculars and observe wildlife from a distance. If an animal changes its behavior because of your presence, you are too close. Of course, do not feed them or leave leftovers behind.

7. Preserve the outdoors experience for all visitors by showing courtesy towards others. Excessive noise, unleashed pets, and damaged surroundings take away from everyone's experience. Preserve a sense of solitude by hiking in small groups. Keep noise levels down when hiking and camping. Observe "quiet hours" in park campgrounds.

The 500,000+ acres of the Pisgah National Forest surrounding Asheville feature some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery, and the best recreational opportunities in eastern North America... read more
Nantahala National Forest is the largest national forest in North Carolina (531,286 acres), covering much of the western tip of the state. From Asheville, head west past the Blue Ridge Parkway to... read more