If you have spent any amount of time in the Adirondacks or the backcountry, it is likely you have heard the term “LNT” in passing. But what is LNT? Why is it so important?
The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace serve as an indispensable set of tools that guide and teach us how to enjoy all the Adirondack Park has to offer while minimizing our impact. Whether you’re paddling, swimming, hiking, or enjoying your lakefront property in NY, it’s crucial to follow these tips to help keep the waters, forests, and mountains that you come to enjoy pristine and forever wild.
So, as the mountains and trails thaw, mud season begins, and the number of visitors to the area increases, let’s brush up on the 7 Leave No Trace Principles:
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Check the weather report ahead of time, dress, and pack accordingly.
- Research the regulations of the specific area you’re visiting
- Know the limits of your group, plan according to the least experienced person in your party
- Travel in small groups to minimize impacts
- Review hiking guidelines & safety tips before you go.
Camp and Walk on Durable Surfaces
- Walk single file and stay on the trail, even if it means through mud and puddles
- Invest in proper footwear (water-resistant, traction for snow/ice, etc) so you can safely stay on the trail
- Stay within marked areas on summits to protect alpine wildlife
- Know where you can and can’t camp on Adirondack land
- Lean-tos are a shared resource and are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Lean-tos must be shared with others and it is polite to yield the lean-to to any thru-hikers staying at the same site.
Dispose of Waste Properly
- Carry out what you carry in. Take all trash with you including biodegradable items like apple cores, orange peels, and pet waste
- Use provided bathrooms or privy. If there are none available bury waste in a 6-8’ hole, over 150 feet away from water sources
- Pack out feminine hygiene products and toilet paper
Minimize Campfire Impact
- Use a portable stove whenever possible
- In areas where fires are permitted, only use existing fire pits. Only use wood that is already dead, down, and can be collected by hand
- Burn all fires to ash and put them out completely. Scatter the cooled ashes when done
Leave What You Find
- Leave all natural objects as you find them, including plants, flowers, and rocks
- Do not build structures, dig trenches, or stack rocks/build cairns
- Take photos, create drawings, or visit gift shops to commemorate your trip
Respect the Wildlife
- Keep pets under control and away from wildlife
- Observe wildlife front a distance. Do not chase, approach, or feed animals
- Be mindful of sensitive times for wildlife: nesting, mating, winter, etc. Take note of any notices posted
Be Kind and Considerate to Others
- Say hello to others and offer help when necessary
- When approaching another group on the trail, step to the side and give space to pass, especially if you are in a larger party
- Avoid being overly loud, and let others enjoy the sounds of nature