The 7 Leave No Trace Principles

Any outdoor activity exerts a certain pressure on our natural environments. Leave No Trace proposes 7 principles to apply during your excursions to protect the natural environment, its fauna and flora.

Follow these guidelines to adopt good habits and practice your favorite outdoor activities in an environmentally friendly manner.

1. Plan ahead and prepare your trip

  • Choose a company that adopts good practices to reduce its environmental footprint.
  • Opt for low or non-polluting means of transport.
  • Know the rules, access rights, restrictions in effect, and specifics of the sites you visit.
  • Bring what you need to face bad weather, natural hazards and other emergencies.
  • Favour low-traffic periods and less frequented places.
  • Travel in small groups of 4 to 6 people.
  • Bring a compass and an up-to-date map.
  • Repack food in reusable containers to minimize waste.

2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces

  • Use existing trails and campsites, without altering them, and concentrate your activities on areas without vegetation.
  • For off-trail travel, stay on durable surfaces: bare ground, rock, sand, dry grass, deep snow.
  • Protect shorelines by camping more than 60 m from lakes and streams.
  • Walk in single file down the middle of the trail, even if it is muddy, to avoid erosion.
  • In pristine or isolated areas, avoid damaging surfaces that have suffered little or no impact, and disperse people so as not to create new trails or campsites.

3. Dispose of waste properly

  • Bring back waste that was carried in (including toilet paper and hygiene products). Burning waste in a campfire is not an acceptable solution.
  • Separate regular waste from hazardous waste.
  • If no toilet is available, bury feces in a 15-20 cm deep hole in organic soil, more than 60 m (about 70 adult paces) from a water source, trail or camp.
  • Bath and wash dishes more than 60 m away from waterways. Use a minimum amount of biodegradable soap.
  • Filter dishwater through a sieve and put food debris with waste before spreading the water through vegetation.

4. Leave what you find

  • Preserve heritage: avoid moving or destroying traditional, historical and cultural elements and sites.
  • Leave stones, plants and all other natural objects in their original place and condition.
  • Avoid building structures, constructing furniture or digging trenches.
  • Prevent the spread of exotic invasive species by removing mud and debris from shoes, clothing and equipment.

5. Minimize campfire impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts: cooking on a portable stove is a good solution.
  • Place barbecues, fire boxes and portable stoves on durable surfaces.
  • If open fires are allowed, use designated locations and keep fires small.
  • If wood collection is allowed, burn only dead wood that is collected from the ground and can be broken up by hand.
  • Before leaving the area, completely extinguish fires and check that ashes are cool.

6. Respect wildlife

  • Leave the field clear for the animals and observe them from a distance. Move away at the first sign of nervousness or change in behavior.
  • Refraining from feeding animals to avoid harming their health, altering their behavior, or exposing them to predators or other hazards.
  • Store food, garbage and any odorous products in a bear-proof barrel, in facilities provided on site, or in car trunks.
  • Avoid disturbing animals during sensitive breeding, nesting and calf rearing periods, or during winter.
  • Keep control of your dog or leave it at home. Pick up feces or bury them in a sanitary hole.

7. Be considerate of others

  • Act with courtesy. On a narrow trail, give way to uphill hikers.
  • Pull over along the trail to give priority to people with mobility aids.
  • Take breaks on durable surfaces off the trail.
  • Give freedom for the sounds of nature to be heard. Wear headphones if using electronic devices.
  • Limit the use of drones to areas where they are permitted and following the rules.
  • On social networks, post photos that demonstrate behavior to better protect natural environments.