Leave No Trace is a cooperative educational program that helps foster stewardship of public lands through education and training. It is the most widely accepted outdoor ethics program used on public lands. The member-driven Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics protects the outdoors by teaching people to enjoy it responsibly.
You can put Leave No Trace into action by following the Leave No Trace Seven Principles each time you head outdoors. They provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts.
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
Repackage food to minimize waste.
Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
2. Travel on Durable Surfaces
Durable surfaces include established trails, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
In popular areas:
Concentrate use on existing trails.
Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out. Pack out all trash, pet waste, and leftover food.
Bring bags for pet waste, Scoop the Poop, and dispose of bags in designated areas.
Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
4. Leave What You Find
Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
5. Be Careful with Fire
Check the burn ban status in City of Austin Parks before heading out for a BBQ.
Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a lantern for light.
Use grills in designated areas.
Campfires are only allowed at Emma Long Metropolitan Park and these must be attended at all times by an adult until fully extinguished.
Before leaving the site, make sure the fire is fully extinguished
Keep a source of water nearby
Never leave a fire unattended
6. Respect Wildlife
Give them space
Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Keep pets under control
Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
Leashes are important both for the protection of both wildlife and your pet.
Use leashes that are 4-6 ft. in length and do not let dogs explore out of sight, including in vegetation.
Coyotes, hawks, snakes, and feral hogs may be present in the preserve and could pose a hazard to off leash dogs.
2. Share on social media
Use our Leave No Trace graphics and posts to show your support for Leave No Trace in Austin:
Leave No Trace is all about minimizing your impact. You can preserve Austin's natural spaces by following "The 7 Principles" each time you head outdoors. Learn more at austintexas.gov/leave-no-trace. #LeaveNoTrace #LeaveNoTraceATX #EnjoyYourWorld
Headed outdoors this weekend? Be sure to Plan Ahead and Prepare by reading up on your destination and packing right so you can Leave No Trace in Austin's natural spaces. #LeaveNoTrace #LeaveNoTraceATX #EnjoyYourWorld
Preserve Austin's natural spaces by practicing the Leave No Trace 7 Principles each time you head outdoors. #LeaveNoTrace #LeaveNoTraceATX
Minimize your impact on Austin by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more at austintexas.gov/leavenotrace. #LeaveNoTraceATX
3. Teach kids about Leave No Trace
Bring your kids to our Park Ranger Leave No Trace Events. Find our Park Rangers' latest events on Facebook at facebook.com/atxparkrangers.