Leave No Trace Principles

Leave No Trace LogoLeave No Trace means preventing or minimizing impacts to the land when we camp, hike, hunt, ride horses or enjoy many of the wonderful recreational activities available to us on our National Forests.  Below are some important elements to consider when recreating in order to minimize your impact.


Planning Ahead and Prepare

  • Learn to comply with area regulations and obtain required permits as needed.
  • Understand weather patterns and local weather conditions.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Understand and be knowledge of routes and terrain.
  • Know how to use a map and compass.
  • Pack appropriate meals, shelter and clothing.
  • Travel and camp in small groups.
  • Avoid time of high use.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Wastewater – pack out food scraps and wash dishes using a small amount of biodegradable soap at least 200 feet from camp and any water source.
  • Human Waste – proper disposal helps prevent spread of disease and illness to others.  Dig a cat hole 6 to 8 inches deep, 200 feet away from campsites, trails and water sources.

Selecting a Campsite

  • Select a campsite at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • In popular areas, concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.  In pristine areas, disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
  • Good campsites are found not made.  Altering a campsite is not necessary.  Do not dig trenches around tents, build log seats or hammer nails into trees.


  • Use only dead and downed wood.
  • Where fires are permitted use established fire rings, fire pans or mound fires.  Do not make a fire ring of rocks.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, extinguish campfires completely then widely scatter cool ashes.  Never leave a smoldering campfire, as wind can cause it to flare up.

In the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area, open fires are PROHIBITED in the Black Canyon drainage off of the Lake Fork Trail and in the Fossil Lake/Dewey Lake area of the upper end of the East Rosebud Trail.  ELSEWHERE "Leave No Trace" fires are allowed.

Pack it in / Pack it Out

  • Pack out all trash.  Never bury garbage or burn it in the fire pit.

Leave What you Find

  • Leave flowers, sticks, driftwood, rocks, bones, antlers, arrowheads and other archaeological artifacts behind.  Many objects may be illegal to remove.  Allow others a sense of discovery.

Respect Wildlife

  • Be quiet and observe wildlife from afar to avoid disturbing them.
  • Give wildlife more space during breeding, nesting and birthing seasons.
  • Help keep wildlife wild.  Keep food, garbage and other attractants away from animals.

Respect Others

  • Thoughtful campers are considerate of others and respect their privacy.
  • Keep noise down.
  • Control pets at all times.
  • Respect private property and leave gates open or closed as found.
  • Show courtesy to others you meet and follow common trail etiquette.