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Summer is Here! Review the 7 Leave No Trace Principles

Liberty Park

Summer is here and with it a nearly endless offering of entertainment options! From grilling in the park and attending concerts and festivals, to hiking, running, and biking on local trails, there are many ways to get outside.

But while you’re out there, remember to take care of our natural spaces– both in and outside of our city!

The Leave No Trace principles aren’t just for going in the backcountry. They should be applied everywhere— including our local parks, gardens, and canyons.

Using these principles helps keep human impacts to a minimum and ensures access to these places and activities will be around for many years to come.

Leave No Trace is more than just packing out trash

Leave No Trace has developed a simple platform that has helped millions of people learn how to protect and respect the outdoors. The Principles are based on respect for nature and other visitors — and they are supported by scientific research.

Leave No Trace: Seven Principles

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare – Know where you are headed and what to expect when you get there. What’s the weather forecast?  Is there shade or shelter at the event?  Whatever the forecast says, make sure to bring reusable water bottles, sunblock, and insect protection.
  • Travel and Camp on Durable SurfacesStick to dry trails. If it’s sticking to your wheels or heels, turn around. Wet or muddy routes are easily destroyed. Running, hiking or biking around mud, rocks, or downed tree limbs widens trails, impacts vegetation, and causes further and unnecessary erosion.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly – Trash can be a major concern in our local parks. Salt Lake City’s parks and trails are great places for people of all ages to relax and recreate. Trails & Natural Lands has year-round maintenance and restoration crews, but each crew member is responsible for 100 acres of land! These areas stay beautiful only with a continuous effort on everyone’s part.

    Remember: When trash cans are available, ensure all your trash, even orange peels, sunflower seeds, and apple cores, make it to the trash can. When receptacles are not available or full, pack it out and dispose of it later. 

  • Leave What You Find – This means resisting the urge to pick that beautiful flower. Taking a photo of it instead. You can also protect trees by padding them before strapping up hammocks and slack lines.
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts – Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then clean up cool ashes. When you’re done grilling, give the grates another brush or scrape to remove any residual food while the grill is still hot. Some parks or campsites might require that ashes are cleaned up after each use– make sure to check before you start grilling. Leave campfire and grill sites as clean and tidy as possible for the next person.
  • Respect Wildlife – Feeding wild animals (especially birds and squirrels) causes them to have vitamin deficiencies, affects their development and behavior, and can kill them. As cute as they are please use the “rule of thumb” to keep a safe distance from wildlife: Hold your arm straight and stick up your thumb, close or cover one eye, look down your arm and see if you can cover the wildlife with your thumb.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors – Everyone is looking for a different experience in the outdoors. It is important to be mindful of affecting other people’s experiences and to think about the effects of posting on social media especially when tagging a location.

What else can I do?

A great way to get involved, beyond the Leave No Trace principles, is to sign up for local citizen science bio-blitz or volunteer for local clean-ups and weed plucks.

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