National Forest Services in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains
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Messages from the Mountains

National Forest Service...Leave No Trace Policy

Your challenge is to leave no evidence of your visit so that the next person can enjoy a natural scene. Tread lightly so that nature can endure and replenish. Below is the list of recommended No-Trace Camping procedures, please print this list out and obey all the rules, they are important and it is up to all of us to do our part to maintaining the integrity of our beautiful Forest Service.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Impact

Avoid holidays and weekends

Limit group size (6 or fewer optimum)

Repackage food to reduce containers

Take along a litter bag to carry out all refuse

Carry a stove and use foods requiring little cooking

Buy gear in subdued forest colors

Check at the Ranger Station for low-use areas

Travel to Avoid Impact

Travel quietly

Walk single-file in center of trail

Stay on main trail even if it is wet

Never shortcut switchbacks

Look at and photograph, never pick or collect

Avoid popular areas

Never discard cigarette butts, candy or gum wrappers or any other liter

Walk softly. Don't kick up dirt and stones or trample vegetation

Make No-trace Camps and Campsites

Select a site invisible from the trail and any other camping parties

Camp at least 25 feet from natural water sources and away from "beauty spots"

Avoid using existing campsites that are obviously over-camped

Never cut standing trees and vegetation or pull up plants

Never dig hipholes or trenches

Wear lightweight, soft-soled shoes around camp

Avoid building campfires or make only small fires in safe places

Never wash dirty dishes, clothes, or yourself directly in stream or spring

Use small amounts of biodegradable soap and dispose of waste water
at least 200 feet away from water supply

Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.

Stay as quiet as possible. Leave radios and tape players at home

Leave your pets at home

Pick up every trace of litter

Drown campfire and erase all evidence of it

Replace and scatter twigs and leaves cleared for a sleeping area

Pack out all garbage

Check for any evidence of your stay, it is your duty to leave no trace

For additional Leave No Trace Information

Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains
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