Author: Tina Eckerlin
We made it to week 7 of our focused blog series on Leave No Trace Principles! If you have been following along, thank you!
If you are new here, we chose to start 2023 off on the right foot, and explore the 7 Principles of LNT. Our hope is to inspire adventurers to improve and advocate for better Leave No Trace practices. We can all be land stewards!
The final Principle we will exploring is Be Considerate of Others. This seventh Principle really comes full circle in its practice, and is at the heart of LNT. By considering our actions in nature and how it effects other peoples enjoyment we can really make a difference.
Leave No Trace
Principle 7 - Be Considerate of Others
Act with Courtesy
The outdoors are for everyone, and we all enjoy adventuring differently. It is important to make sure our behaviour does not effect someone else's enjoyment.
There are commonly followed guidelines on the trail and on the water. You should understand them and the rules of the road, trail or waterway before heading out.
- On a narrow trail, give way to uphill hikers
On shared trails, it is generally accepted for cyclists to yield to hikers. However, hikers should move aside on a narrow trail to allow cyclists to pass, especially when going up or down hill.
Cyclists should slow down to the hikers speed and give warning, for instance: Passing on your left.
When encountering those on horseback, the rider has the right of way. Cyclists and hikers should move off to the downhill side and try not to make any sudden noises or movements. Some horses are easily spooked and can put you, and the rider at risk. Make sure to keep dogs leashed and under control at all times.
Furthermore, cyclists and hikers must yield to portager's (those carrying a canoe). They are carrying a much heavier and awkward item, and should be given priority. If both parties are carrying a canoe, generally the rule is whomever saw the other -first moves over (unless going uphill -then the uphill party has priority).
It is recommended that if portager sees a horseback rider, that they put down the canoe and pull off to the side so they do not spook the horse. If possible, ask the rider what the best course of action is for them to remain in control of their animal.
- Pull over along the trail to give priority to people with mobility aids
Thankfully, new equipment and mobility aids are allowing those with physical difficulties to experience the trail. Make sure to yield to those using devices!
Always try to let other hikers, cyclists or portagers pass you if possible. Remember to follow good LNT practices and explore the trail single file.
Make sure to move off the trail without disturbing the natural area as much as possible so you don't create any congestion on the trail - Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Take breaks on durable surfaces off the trail
Enjoy the Sounds of Nature
We all have our routine. Some like to listen to bird calls and some people like to rock out, or listen to podcasts.
- Give freedom for the sounds of nature to be heard. Avoid excessive noise. Wear headphones if using electronic devices
If you choose to listen to music or podcasts, wear headphones. Do not play out loud. Make sure to keep one earphone out to listen for other people and animals. Do not have the volume too loud.
When in a group, it is advised to limit your banter or trail singing. Sound travels further than you would expect. We want everyone to enjoy the trail and appreciate nature.
- Limit the use of drones to areas where they are permitted and following the rules
Technology is an amazing thing, but be sure to check with land managers if drones are permitted. Ensure that you respect other peoples privacy and enjoyment.
Be a Steward of the Land
Becoming a land steward is easy! Follow LNT practices and set an example, in-person and on-line.
- On social networks, post photos that demonstrate behavior to better protect natural environments.
Join the movement and visit Leave No Trace Canada and become a steward of the land.
Share posts that represent good practices and share with others.
Help us advocate, educate and share good LNT practices to ensure the backcountry is kept wild for everyone!
Remember, practice makes perfect!
7 Principles of Leave No Trace
How do you lessen your impact and Leave No Trace?
Let us know in the comments below!