The "Leave No Trace" Approach to Enjoying the
1. Tread lightly when traveling and leave no trace of your camping. Drive
and ride only on roads and trails where such travel is allowed; hike only
on established trails, on rock, or in washes. Camp at designated sites
or, where allowed, at previously-used sites. Avoid placing tents on top
of vegetation and use a camp stove instead of making a campfire. Unless
signs indicate otherwise, leave gates open or closed as you find them.
How to help: Strive to leave no trace of your outing. When driving,
riding, and hiking avoid taking shortcuts and travelling through cryptobiotic
soils. Don't be a trail or campsite "pioneer" who leaves a new
path or campsite for others to use. Select an area of bare soil for your
tent. Use a camp stove rather than burning firewood. If you must have a fire,
use a fire pan and bring your own wood. Never cut live or standing trees.
2. Help keep Canyon Country clean. Pack out your trash and recycle
it, clean up after less thoughtful visitors, and dispose of human waste properly.
How to help:Make it a point to clean up campsites and day use areas
during your visit. Take out all trash, including toilet paper and food scraps,
and dispose of it properly through recycling centers and landfills. In some
areas, campers must use developed campgrounds or utilize portable toilets
at designated undeveloped sites. Where special rules don't apply, bury solid
human waste in the upper few inches of soil.
3. Protect and conserve scarce desert water resources. Camp at least
300 feet from isolated water sources to allow for wildlife access. Where
possible, carry your own drinking water. Leave potholes undisturbed and
wash well away from pools and springs.
Why it matters: Many desert animals, especially birds, depend
on the plants around isolated water resources for food and habitat. Camping
near water sources damages plants and prevents wildlife from approaching.
Small quantities of pollutants can make springs and ponds unusable for wildlife.
Body lotions and vehicle lubricants can remain in the water and harm aquatic
life, which in egg or larval form may be invisible to the naked eye.
How to help: Camp at least 300 feet from water sources to allow wildlife
access. Where feasible, carry all the water you will need for drinking and
personal hygiene. Bathe and wash dishes away from desert water sources.
Cool off in the shade, not in springs and potholes. Avoid driving or riding
through desert water sources.
4. Allow space for wildlife. When encountering wildlife, maintain
your distance and remain quiet. Teach children not to chase or pick up animals.
Keep pets under control.
How to help; Watch animals from a distance. Where pets are allowed,
keep them leashed and under control. Keep quiet in the back country; you
will see more animals and not frighten them.
5. Leave historic sites, Native American rock art, ruins and artifacts
untouched for the future. Admire rock art from a distance and never
touch it. Stay out of ruins, leave artifacts in place, and report violations.
How to help; Leave all sites and artifacts undisturbed. Remember
not to touch rock art or make marks on canyon walls. Leave artifacts in
place and stay out of ruins to avoid damaging them. When approaching a cultural
site, avoid walking on soft soils to reduce the possibility of erosion.
Report vandalism to the nearest local authorities.
Special Rules. In some areas, visitors must follow special rules
designed to protect natural and cultural resource values. Ask at agency
offices and visitor centers if any special rules apply to the area you plan
This document is an excerpt of:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR -
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT