7 Principles of Leave No Trace

Use the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace build awareness, appreciation and respect for our natural and cultural heritage. By following these principles, you can ensure your hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, camping or any nature based experience has a minimal impact on the environment.

As more people discover the pleasures of outdoor experiences, it becomes more apparent that our bush, beaches and waterways need care and protection to ensure that they are around for many more generations to enjoy.

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Be aware of the current local conditions such as diversions, prescribed burns, bushfires, weather warnings or whether campfires are permitted
  • Carry a map or guidebook and know how to use them
  • Carry a PLB for longer hikes (just in case of emergency)
  • Plan your route and drop-offs around designated vehicle access points
  • Repackage food to minimise waste
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies
  • Pack suitable clothing
  • Inform someone at home where you are going and your expected return time.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include rocky outcrops, sand, gravel, dry grass, snow and tent platforms
  • Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts – stay on designated track
  • Use designated tent sites wherever possible
  • Only use purpose built or dual use trails for biking and horse riding (some trails, such as the Bibbulmun Track, are ‘walking only’ trails, which are not built to withstand the impact of bikes and horses)
  • Don’t trespass on private land
  • Keep to the middle of the Track, even when it is underwater.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Everything you take in, you must take out!
  • Remove rubbish or spilled foods which can harm native animals and spoil the environment. This includes ‘organic’ items such as apple cores and fruit peel
  • Don’t burn or bury rubbish as this will attract animals and put them at risk
  • Ensure you dispose of human waste properly. If a toilet exists please use it! If no toilet is available, walk 100m away from the trail and any water course (leave your pack on the trail if you are in a group, so they know where you are). Dig a 15cm deep hole and bury your business.
  • Used toilet paper should be taken home in a ziplock bag and disposed of in a bin (do not bury)
  • Wash your hands, yourself and your dishes well away from any water source to prevent contamination by food particle, soaps and bodily excretions.
  • Sunscreen and insect repellents can easily wash off your face or hands into streams and pools. Use a sanitising gel to clean hands which does not require water.

4. Leave What You Find

  • Minimise the spread of Phytophthora Dieback by cleaning mud from boots, tyres, camping equipment and vehicles before and after your walk – start clean, stay clean.
  • Enjoy the wildflowers but do not pick them
  • Preserve the past – do not touch cultural or historic structures
  • Rocks are homes to small creatures, leave them as they are which includes not adding to or moving rock cairns
  • Be careful not to introduce or spread non-native species (e.g. by throwing your fruit pips or skin into the bush)
  • Do not build structures, make new fire places or dig trenches.

5. Minimise Campfire Impacts

  • Pack a fuel stove and resist the temptation to have a fire. Campfires, no matter how small, can quickly escalate and devastate the bush.
  • Use a battery operated tea light or candle for a soft glow at night
  • Where fires are permitted, only use established fire rings
  • Fires are not permitted on ‘very high’ or ‘extreme’ fire dangers
  • Keep fires small and use only dead wood found on the ground that can be broken by hand
  • Burn all wood to ash, put out campfires completely (pour a little water over if necessary).

6. Respect Wildlife

  • Do not feed animals or birds and clean up even the tiniest of food scraps as this can damage their health
  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them
  •  Leave your pets at home (dogs are not allowed in national parks, water catchments or nature reserves and other areas are regularly baited with 1080 poison).

7. Be Considerate of Your Hosts and Other Visitors

  • Treat the shelters as you would your home, keeping them clean and tidy
  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience
  • Be courteous. Give way to other users on the track
  • Keep noise levels down at campsites after 6pm
  • Mountain bikers should ‘yield’ to horse riders by stopping their bikes and getting off, and ‘yield’ to uphill bike traffic
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

We all want to continue camping, hiking and exploring what Western Australia has to offer for many years to come. A little more mindfulness, preparation and consideration means that we can keep nature in as pristine condition as possible.

Happy hiking and adventuring!

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