The coronavirus pandemic has drawn a surge of crowds to many parts of New Hampshire, including popular hiking trails, swimming holes and recreation areas. While it is great that more and more people are eager to get outside and enjoy everything NH has to offer, the spurt in popularity has created new problems for those who manage New Hampshire’s national forest. It is important that each and every visitor is made fully aware with their personal responsibility when accessing and using these pristine areas.
Before you go, read up on the rules of LNT and educate yourself on how you can minimize your impact when visiting these beautiful mountains.
7 Principles Of “Leave No Trace”
#1. Plan ahead & prepare
Proper trip planning and preparation helps everyone enjoy the outdoors both safely and responsibly, while also minimizing damage to the land. Poor planning and unexpected conditions can constrict backcountry resources and put yourself and others at risk.
- Know the regulations for the area you are planning to visit.
- Plan your trip to avoid busy times.
- Be prepared for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Visit in small groups when possible.
- Repackage food to minimize overall waste.
#2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
Travel damage occurs when surface vegetation are trampled and destroyed beyond repair. This can lead to soil erosion and the creation of undesirable trails. It is important that you always make an effort to stay on trail when possible.
- Camp at least 200 feet from lakes, streams and any other water sources.
- Walk in the middle of the trail, avoiding stepping off to the sides as much as possible.
- Keep campsites small and do your best to use existing sites.
- Durable camping surfaces include designated trails and campsites, rock, gravel, sand, grass or snow.
#3. Dispose of waste properly
It is important that outdoor enthusiasts consider the impacts that they leave behind, which will also affect other people, water and wildlife. Proper disposal of human waste is important to avoid pollution of water sources and minimize the possibility of spreading disease to other visitors.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- Pack it in, pack it out.
- Wash your dishes at least 200 feet away from any water sources and use biodegradable soap.
#4. Leave what you find
- Leave rocks, plants and other objects as you find them.
- Do not touch structures and artifacts.
- Do not build structures.
#5. Minimize campfire impacts
- Burn only when essential in established fire rings or using a low-impact mound fire.
- Use established fire rings when permitted.
- Keep campfires small.
- Put out campfires fully before leaving the scene.
- Use a lightweight camp stove for cooking purposes.
#6. Respect wildlife
- Protect wildlife by storing food and trash securely.
- Control pets so that they don’t harass or scare wildlife.
- Never approach or startle wildlife.
- Never feed wildlife.
- Observe wildlife from a safe distance.
#7. Be considerate of other visitors
- Yield to other hikers on the trail.
- Take breaks and set up camp away from busy trails.
- Control your pets and keep them on leash at all times.
- Avoid playing music or yelling when out on the trails.