The Leave No Trace principles are essential for any adventure, whether its a jaunt to your local park or a multi day trip in the backcountry. Familiarise yourself with all seven principles and always adhere to them. Along with the principles follow any local rules your adventure location may have. Let’s make sure there is plenty of wilderness for us to explore well into the future.
Plan ahead and prepare
Everyone loves a spontaneous adventure but even the most short notice of trips need at least a little research. Have a quick look at map so you have some idea where you’re going and check the weather to make sure you’ve got appropriate gear. For longer trips really get into the planning, it can be loads of fun sorting out logistics for multi-day adventures. If there is a big group of you split up into smaller groups and try and go when it’s not as busy. Trust us it’s better when there are less people anyway.
Travel and camp on durable surfaces
Pretty simple this one, stick to the track where it’s marked or follow already established tracks. Don’t dodge around something in the track just because you don’t want to get your feet wet, you’re on an adventure, charge on through. When setting up campsites try and do it where someone has done so before and make sure you’re at least 200m away from rivers and streams.
Dispose of waste properly
If you haven’t heard of “pack it in, pack it out” before, make this your wilderness mantra. Everything you carry in must come out with you. With a bit of planning and food repacking you can end up with nearly no rubbish to carry out. Wash your dishes at least 200m away from water and just use hot water, no detergent required. Use toilets where provided, but if you get caught out on the trail, solid human waste should be deposited in a hole at least 15cm deep and at least 200m away from water.
Leave what you find
“Leave only footprints, take only photos” or something like that, if possible don’t even leave footprints. But seriously don’t take home that “souvenir”, you really don’t need a collection of random rocks filling up your house and some little critter was probably using it as a home. Also don’t go disturbing any cultural or historical sites, other people want to enjoy them too.
Minimize campfire impact
We are a sunburnt country, don’t make it any worse. Cook food on a portable camp stove and only have a fire if the place you’re going allows it and there are provided fireplaces. Don’t go hacking down trees for your fire, scrounge for small sticks on the ground. Finally, always make sure your fire is out, it’s not fully out until you can stick your hand in it.
You really don’t need that selfie, trust us. Don’t get too close to animals, don’t chase them and don’t feed them (this means securing your food and rubbish, it’s your responsibility!). Observe from a distance and just appreciate how lucky you are to see them. If you want to get up really close bring a pair of binoculars. If you’re out on an adventure with your four legged friend, make sure they are under control and won’t go chasing any native animals, even if they only want to play.
Be considerate of others
You can do this by making sure you do all of the above. The wilderness is an awesome place and we want everyone to be able to enjoy it. Just be a considerate person and you shouldn’t have any troubles. Friendly advice can always seem like a good idea but everyone has their own way of enjoying nature so maybe just think about it before you give it, unless they are playing loud music, then tell them to sod off.
With the new age of social media everyone loves to post about where they are exploring. Good practice is to not geotag your exact location just tag the general area like the national park you are in. Lots of foot traffic can cause damage to our amazing wilderness and exploring the area to find those hidden gems is half the fun!