Minimal-Impact Camping and Hiking: Go Gently Into That Good Land

To preserve America’s wilderness, it is important for campers and hikers to avoid disturbing the land and the wildlife. Following these practices for low-impact hiking, campsite selection, and waste disposal is a good place to start.

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Established—that is, regularly used—campsites are preferable to pristine sites for large groups, for multi-day stays, or for when you wish to build a ground fire. Keep your tents, kitchen area, fires and movements within the bounds of the existing trampled area. When breaking camp, leave the site clean and attractive for the next group that uses it—even if you didn't find it that way.
KATHLEEN NORRIS COOK