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For anyone active in the outdoor community, the Leave No Trace seven principles might be second nature. But as more and more people are being inspired by what they see on social media, these wild spaces are becoming increasingly more crowded. As adventure wedding photographers leading our clients in to these remote areas, it is our job to make sure that we follow these principles ourselves, set a good example for our clients and educate others to do the same.
In case you need a refresher, these are the Leave No Trace Seven Principles:
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Research your route ahead of time and make sure that you have a backup plan in case of bad weather. If you’re hoping to explore areas belonging to a national park, make sure you get the appropriate permits. Take in to account the time of year, weather conditions and busiest times of day when planning your schedule.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
This is one of the principles that is broken time and time again. Stay on marked trails to avoid damaging the soil and fragile plant life. Some of the worst examples of this that I’ve seen are in Iceland, where people regularly walk across the fragile moss-covered lava fields. And if you are camping, make sure you either camp at a designated campsite or find suitable ground that won’t be damaged by your being there.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out! Anything you bring with you should be taken back home with you. Even food waste.
Leave What You Find
Don’t take souvenirs from the landscape with you or deface anything by carving your initials in it. Leave the environment exactly as you found it.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Campfires might look romantic but in many places they aren’t allowed due to high risks of forest fire. Check the restrictions and regulations where you are visiting. Campfires should only be lit in established fire rings, and should be put out completely before you leave.
Let wildlife stay wild. If you come across any wildlife on your route keep your distance and leave it alone. Don’t be tempted to feed animals as you are altering their natural behaviours and could be upsetting their natural digestive system.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Just as you want to enjoy these beautiful locations, so do others around you. Be respectful to other people you meet on the trails. Keep noise to a minimum, hike in single file and at popular photo locations let everyone have the opportunity to take their photos too.