Leave No Trace

We’re proud to partner with Outdoor NC and do our part to keep
North Carolina’s outdoor spaces beautiful. Learn how you can help protect outdoor spaces by following the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace.

Outdoor NC Logo-color.png
Placeholder Image

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

• North Carolina is home to endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Before you travel, learn about your destination, its regulations and safety matters.
• Have a backup plan in case your chosen destination is crowded or parking areas are full.
• To reduce your impact, choose lesser-known areas and times of high use.
• Pack food, water and the right clothes to protect you from the elements.

Placeholder Image

2. Stick to Trails and Overnight Right

• Be cautious. Stay within your party’s skill level. Know what to do in case of poor weather, slick rocks around waterfalls, and other potential hazards.
• In the backcountry, confine your impact to places that already show use, and limit the area of disturbance.
• Take rest breaks on durable surfaces off the designated trail so that others can pass.

Placeholder Image

3. Trash Your Trash

• Pack it in, pack it out. Place all trash in garbage bags and carry it home. Food scraps, cigarette butts and other litter can take years to decompose and are unhealthy for wildlife.
• If adventuring with pets, plan to pack out their waste as well.
• When camping in remote areas, have a plan to dispose of human waste properly.

4. Leave It As You Find It

• North Carolina is home to amazing diversity of indigenous plants and animals. Snap a picture instead of picking flowers, gathering shells and collecting pine cones.
• Leave rocks as you find them to protect critters’ sensitive habitats, prevent erosion and avert other ecological impacts.
• Forgo carving into trees, which inflicts lasting damage and can kill the vegetation.
• Adhere to laws that prohibit the removal of natural objects from national parks and other protected places.

5. Be Careful With Fire

• If you choose to have a fire, check on regulations, secure a permit if needed, and keep the fire small. If allowed, gather wood from the ground instead of breaking branches from trees. Buy firewood locally to avoid bringing in invasive species.
• Burn all wood to ash. Before leaving, check that the fire is completely out and ashes are cold.
• On overnight camping trips, use a stove for cooking.

6. Keep Wildlife Wild

• Observe creatures from a distance. Getting too close causes undue stress and harm.
• Refrain from feeding wild animals. It alters their natural behavior and puts them and you at risk.
• When camping, store food securely. Keep garbage and food scraps out of the reach of wildlife.

7. Share Our Trails

• North Carolina is home to endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Before you travel, learn about your destination, its regulations and safety matters.
• Be considerate when passing others on the trail.
• Be mindful of your noise level so that others can listen to nature.
• Honor the rule of thumb that those traveling downhill will yield to those traveling uphill.