Editor’s note: The following post is derived from an edition of our weekly outdoors newsletter, Outside Guide. Every Wednesday, we’re delivering tips, links and inspiration to readers’ inboxes. Sign up here.
The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, and the secret is out. With many of our local trails seeing more traffic than ever before, it’s imperative that hikers, backpackers and climbers follow the ethics of Leave No Trace (LNT) so that future generations can continue to enjoy the pristine wilderness that makes our little corner of the world so spectacular.
LNT isn’t a set of rigid rules; it’s a framework that can be applied to many different scenarios and settings. Think you’ve got it down? Take our quiz and see how you stack up.
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We also asked local outdoor enthusiasts to share their less-than-obvious tips for leaving no trace. Here’s a selection of what we heard:
“Plan your meals so they don’t generate any dishwashing afterward. I use my pot just to boil water and hydrate foods in my cup/bowl. After eating until my bowl is ‘clean,’ I make hot tea in there to loosen the food and drink the bits while keeping myself extra hydrated! That’s something I learned from my fellow wilderness rangers.” —Tanya Kitterman
“Carry headphones if you like to listen to music. They make a great 11th essential and allow you to be in your own zone without impacting others. LNT includes noise too!” —Katie Tishler
“Always hike with a small plastic bag (like a gallon ziplock type maybe) and use it to help pack out your own trash as well as things others have left laying around.” —Rob Portinga
“There are endless little hacks for Leave No Trace, but the most important is to just recognize that you are responsible to care for the great outdoors that you love. It’s a mindset, not a bunch of gadgets and gear.” —Alan McGraw