Leave What You Find

Don’t be “that guy”.  Learn how to properly Leave No Trace on the Appalachian Trail here

There’s a new saying going around: “The best way to make your mark is to not leave one.” Leaving no trace is a great way to demonstrate respect for the Trail. Writing or carving on shelters, trees, signs or rocks is no longer in vogue. Leave your mark, instead, in a shelter register – where others will enjoy your contribution after you leave.

“Leave What You Find” means leaving flowers, cultural artifacts, and Trail infrastructure (shelters, signposts) undisturbed. At campsites, please don’t build new campfire rings, campsite improvements, or dig a trench around your tent. If you have a campfire (in a pre-existing campfire ring in legal spot), only collect wood that is dead (not green), down on the ground (not on a standing tree). And, as mentioned in “Travel and camp on durable surfaces,” wearing rubber tips on the bottoms of your trekking poles cuts down on the number of tiny holes in the soil along the Trail, preventing soil erosion, and is another way to leave the Trail like we found it.

Leaving the Trail as you found it, or cleaner, is pretty easy! Have fun out there.

Tom Banks section-hiked the Appalachian Trail between 2004 and 2013.