Leave No Trace Seven Principles

#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

Plan Ahead and Prepare


Educate Yourself – Know your destination and route’s regulations, hazards, topography, and facilities.

Plan for Your Group – Match skills, behavior, and group size with the type of destination. Keep group size small, from 4 to 6 people.

Schedule Your Trip in Advance – Obtain permits, make reservations, check tide tables, obtain and study nautical charts and topographic maps, and leave a float plan.

Plan Your Meals – Avoid leftovers and repackage food in reusable containers to minimize waste.

Use Proper Gear – Be prepared for weather, hazards, and emergencies. Bring appropriate attire and gear, emergency equipment, food, and water.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces


Recognize Durable Surfaces – Concentrate use in durable areas, including established campsites and trails, rocks, sand, gravel, and dry grasses.

Protect the Area – Camp at least 200 feet from fresh water sources and establish a low impact strategy.

Disperse Use in Pristine Areas – If you must use these areas, treat them with extreme care.

Dispose of Waste Properly


Pack it in, Pack it out – Pack out all trash and garbage. Inspect your campsite before moving on. Bring extra bags and take away trash you may find.

Practice good sanitation –  Use available toilets or pack out solid human waste.  Urinate and disperse diluted waste waters below the high tide line, if there is no available toilet. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.

Leave What You Find

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPreserve the Past – Do not excavate, disturb, or remove cultural or historic structures and artifacts. For detailed information about the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, visit the National Parks Service’s Archeology Program.

Leave Natural Features Undisturbed – Let photos, journal entries, drawings, and memories be your souvenirs. Remember that what you consider taking may be important to the ecology of the area.

Avoid Spreading Invasive Species –   Spreading non-native plants and animals can cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem by eliminating native species. Help prevent such changes  by washing your boats and gear.

Minimize Campfire Impact


Use a stove – Avoid risking lasting environmental impact and fire damage by using a stove.

Know Current Regulations – Conditions change with weather and across small areas of the state. Check the latest information before you go.

Build only minimum impact fires If you must have a fire, keep fires below the high tide line and use wood that is found – dead, downed, and distant from your campsite. Don’t transport wood; purchase locally to avoid spread of invasive insect and tree disease. Try your best to leave driftwood where it is; it protects the shore and may be some creature’s home.

Manage your campfire – Determine if conditions are safe and never leave a fire unattended. Don’t burn waste. Disguise area when done.

Respect Wildlife

whalesAvoid sensitive times and habitats – Learn about local marine wildlife through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or call 1-800-WILD.

Observe From a Distance – Try not to startle wildlife. Stay at least 200 yards from whales, seals, and birds. Learn more about the whales  at The Whale Museum.

Store Food and Trash Securely – Trash, garbage, canned food, fuel, and toiletries should all be hung at least 12 feet above ground and 6 feet from tree trunks. Or stored securely in a bear proof container.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

PaddlerRespect Other Visitors – Keep the noise level down. Travel in small groups, making use of bright colors on the water and muted colors on land.

Yield to Others – At large campsites, concentrate your group to one area to allow room for parties arriving later. In areas used by motorized boaters, do what you can to be noticed  and make your intentions obvious.

Let Nature’s Sights and Sounds Prevail – Avoid the use of bright lights, radios, electronics, and other intrusive devices in camp and on shores.


Click on the link for the WWTA Leave No Trace Paddling brochure (PDF):

Leave No Trace Paddling Tri-Fold Brochure