Arcata Field Office

King Range National Conservation Area: Leave No Trace

Why "Leave No Trace?"

America's recreation lands, from state parks to vast wilderness areas, are being used and enjoyed by millions more people than just a few years ago. Their non-motorized use, be it hiking, camping, river-running, hunting, or other outdoor activities, leaves an individual and cumulative mark on the land.

As cities grow and populations encroach upon wildlands and recreation areas, we must do more than just pick up litter and extinguish campfires; we must learn how to maintain the integrity and character of the outdoors for all living things. Leave No Trace is a national outdoor skills and ethics education program that promotes land stewardship, minimum-impact skills, and wilderness ethics.

Here are some tips to help you "Leave No Trace:"

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.

  • Visit the backcountry in small groups.
  • Avoid popular areas during times of high use.
  • Choose equipment and clothing in subdued colors.
  • Repackage food into reusable containers.

Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces

On the Trail:

    • Stay on designated trails. Walk single file in the middle of the path.
    • Do not shortcut switchbacks.
    • When traveling cross-country, choose the most durable surfaces available: rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
    • Use a map and compass to eliminate the need for rock cairns, tree scars and ribbons.

At Camp:

    • Choose an established, legal site that will not be damaged by your stay.
    • Restrict activities to the area where vegetation is compacted or absent.
    • Keep pollutants out of water sources by camping at least   200 feet (70 adult steps) from lakes and streams.

Pack it In, Pack it Out

  • Pack everything that you bring into wild country back out with you.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations securely.
  • Pick up all spilled foods.

Properly Dispose of What you Can't Pack Out

  • On Lost Coast Trail: Bury all human waste in the sand below the high tide line.  All other trails: Bury human waste 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 feet (approximately 70 paces) from streams when you are not near the ocean.
  • Use toilet paper or wipes sparingly. Pack them out in plastic bags.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes, and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter dish water after removing all food particles.
  • Inspect your campsite for trash and evidence of your stay. Pack out all trash: yours and others'

Leave What You Find 

  • Treat our natural heritage with respect. Leave plants, rock, and historical artifacts as you find them.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site should not be necessary.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Keep loud voices and noises to a minimum.
  • Control pets at all times. Remove dog feces from trails or camping areas.
  • Do not build structures or furniture or dig trenches.

Minimize Use and Impact of Fires

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Always carry a lightweight stove for cooking. Enjoy a candle lantern instead of a fire.
  • Where fires are permitted , use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Do not scar large rocks or overhangs.
  • Gather sticks, no larger than an adult's wrist from the ground.
  • Do not snap branches off live, dead or downed trees.
  • Put out campfires completely.
  • Do not burn trash; pack it out.

For more information on the "Leave No Trace" program and Leave No Trace teaching activities, visit the Web site of the Leave No Trace organization, sponsored in part by the Bureau of Land Management.