Leave No Trace – Camping
When you visit a national park such as Shenandoah National Park or Great Smokies National Park, it is like going to a famous museum. You want to do everything you can so that you do not leave your mark on the items at the museum. Imagine if every visitor to a museum left one little mark behind. The items would quickly become destroyed and devalued and you would be left with a museum full of garbage. The same principal applies to the National Parks and Wilderness areas of the world. They are as magnificent and valuable to us as the artifacts or paintings found in famous museums. If everyone was to leave their mark on the land, it would quickly be ruined.
A National Park or Wilderness can tolerate plenty of use by humans as long as everyone uses it in a manner that is respectful to the land. A lot of times, a few careless visitors can ruin the land for everyone who follows behind them. The need for good thoughtful behavior applies to everyone who enter a wilderness area.
The main principles behind leave no trace camping:
1. Everything you brought in with you should leave with you.
2. There should be no signs or marks left from your visit.
3. Leave the land and plants as you found them.
Everyone is taught not to litter when they grow up. You want to make sure you leave nothing behind, regardless of size. Do not drop items at camp or along the trail. You should store all your trash and bring it with you when you leave the woods. This includes food peelings, bottle tops, tissues and napkins, cigarette butts, etc. If you see any of these items while your in the wilderness, be kind enough to pick them up and pack them out with your own trash.
Following some simple rules and using good judgment while in the wilderness can help preserve this precious natural resource for many more years.