What is Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is an Outdoor Ethics Education Programme designed to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research, and partnerships.

It differs from other codes and outdoor messages by promoting the concept of a “land ethic”. What is an ethic? An ethic can be described as an attitude or behaviour, or plainly speaking, what you do when no one is looking! At the core of the Leave No Trace ethic is a message of respect for the land, wildlife, other users and land owners/managers. It motivates outdoor enthusiasts to behave in a way that respects and protects the integrity of the land, as it recognises that the land has its own intrinsic value, not only a resource for us to use.

Leave No Trace is not based on rules or regulations. Nor does it replace existing regulations. Instead it offers people a different way of thinking. It is based on a set of seven core principles (see below) carefully chosen to educate users and rooted in recreation and social sciences.

The message is backed up by a tiered education programme, which teaches people to look at their personal outdoor ethic, critically view their impacts and understand the effects of these impacts. The beauty of Leave No Trace is that it’s simple, reasonable and makes good sense. In truth many of us are already practicing much of what LNT promotes, however exposure to the message may challenge us to examine other aspects of what we do in the outdoors.

In short, Leave No Trace makes good sense. As an outdoor message it’s not going to address everything that’s going on. There is always going to be anti-social behaviour – people who trash areas and don’t give a damn about anybody or anything else; regulations are the only means we have of dealing with these folk. But for the rest of us who don’t want our every move governed by restrictive rules and regulations, Leave No Trace is the best option we have. If we take responsibility for our actions and practice good outdoor ethics then, not only do we ensure our own continued use and enjoyment, but we also protect the integrity of the outdoors for future generations to enjoy too. Ghandi said that we should be the change we want to see in the world. If we examine our own outdoor ethic we will find that we all have something to learn, something to change, something we could do better and if we challenge ourselves to follow just some of the Leave No Trace principles then that’s better than none at all. We all go into the outdoors for very different reasons. We participate in a wide range of activities there. The one thing that connects us is this place we call the outdoors. As cities grow and pressures mount this place becomes more important for our physical and mental wellbeing. Let’s keep it special by aiming to Leave No Trace.

The seven guiding principles of Leave No Trace Ireland
1.Plan ahead and prepare
2.Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors
3.Respect Wildlife and Farm Animals
4.Keep to Durable Ground
5.Leave What You Find
6.Dispose of Waste Properly
7.Minimise the Effects of Fire

Leave No Trace Training for CANI Members

CANI endorse the principles of Leave No Trace and now have a group of Leave No Trace Master Educators and Trainers to deliver Leave No Trace Trainer Courses and Awareness Sessions to CANI members.

Master Educators are trained to the highest level of Leave No Trace Training which qualifies them to offer Leave No Trace Trainer Courses. Leave No Trace Training courses are the next level of training, a 2 day teaching course, enabling the Trainers qualified to deliver awareness sessions – which are informal workshop sessions usually lasting from a couple of hours to one day.

If you would like more information on Leave No Trace Ireland, contact beverley@leavenotraceireland.org or on 028 9030 3938.

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