Leave No Trace Tips: Plan Ahead and Prepare

As part of our regular feature on the seven Leave No Trace Principles, we’re featuring Principle #1: Plan Ahead and Prepare.

Adequate trip planning and preparation helps backcountry travelers accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably, while simultaneously minimizing damage to the land. Poor planning often results in miserable campers and damage to natural and cultural resources. Rangers often tell stories of campers they have encountered who, because of poor planning and unexpected conditions, degrade backcountry resources and put themselves at risk. Why is trip planning important?

  • It helps ensure the safety of groups and individuals.
  • It prepares you to Leave No Trace and minimizes resource damage.
  • It contributes to accomplishing trip goals safely and enjoyably.
  • It increases self-confidence and opportunities for learning more about nature.

There are seven elements to consider when planning a trip:

  1. Identify and record the goals (expectations) of your trip.
  2. Identify the skill and ability of trip participants.
  3. Select destinations that match your goals, skills, and abilities
  4. Gain knowledge of the area you plan to visit from land managers, maps, and literature.
  5. Choose equipment and clothing for comfort, safety, and Leave No Trace qualities.
  6. Plan trip activities to match your goals, skills, and abilities.
  7. Evaluate your trip upon return and note changes you will make next time.

Learn more at Leave No Trace Canada.

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