How to be a Partner in Preservation
While we have wide open arms, ready to welcome all visitors to our lush wilderness, we ask that everyone who explores our varied natural habitats and environments do so with great responsibility. Our priority is to care for and preserve our waterways, trails, wildlife, and shorelines. So, before exploring, remember the Leave No Trace 7 Principals and practice them with care during your time with us.
1- Prepare and Plan Ahead
An ill-planned excursion into any outdoor environment can lead to negative experiences for the explorers and negative impacts on the natural resources they encounter. Consider the time of year, group size, age and experience of travelers participating, seasonal risks, and terrain.
2- Travel on Durable Surfaces
Simply put, walk, run, hike, or bike on surfaces made for those purposes or those that are most durable, like gravel, rock, or sand. Share the space with other travelers, keep your trash to dispose of appropriately, and limit off-trail exploration and cut-throughs to minimize the impact on surrounding wildlife and terrain.
3- Dispose of Waste Properly
Take the proper measures to ensure you leave every environment you explore untouched. The Leave No Trace website says, “Overlooked trash is litter, and litter is not only ugly—it can also be deadly. Plastic bags, cigarette butts, fishing line, and other trash can be harmful to our environment when not properly disposed of.”
4- Leave What You Find
Picking flowers, carving initials, or moving rocks from a formation may seem innocuous, but these acts are incredibly damaging. If every visitor to our trails and parks thought to take just a few flowers or grab a stone from a wall as a souvenir, it would completely change the landscape and resources of that area. Simply enjoy the beauty, take photos, and make unforgettable memories, but leave everything as you found it and protect our lands, waterways, and wildlife.
5- Minimize Campfire Impacts
When camping in one of our parks, use fire rings whenever possible and ask staff or volunteers for best practices for the specific location and time of year. Campfires feel like a timeless tradition that completes any overnight wilderness adventure, but over time will degrade the environment in which they are made. Enjoy all the s’mores you can eat, cooked over a fire that leaves nature in the best possible condition.
6- Respect Wildlife
Practicing quiet observation from a distance is essential to peacefully encountering any critters along your journey. You will come across all sorts of native wildlife on your visit with us. Please refrain from approaching, feeding, or attempting to touch any of our amazing wild animals.
7- Be Considerate
Be kind, step aside, and plan for crowds. We are a tourist hot spot, so some times will be busier and more crowded. Patience and a helpful attitude go a long way in providing a memorable experience. We will offer you all our southern hospitality and hope you will extend that to others.
*For more information on the Leave No Trace organization, their work, and more details about the 7 Principals, please visit www.lnt.org.