• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Leave No Trace

The National Park Service participates in a nationwide program called Leave No Trace (LNT). LNT skills and ethics help backcountry and frontcountry visitors leave minimum impact while enjoying the nation's wildlands. Many of these techniques have been incorporated into this guide. Your backcountry permit is a signed contract between you and the National Park Service. It's an agreement to treat the wilderness with respect by practicing LNT techniques. Keep in mind that Leave No Trace camping goes beyond following the rules; it requires thoughtful judgement for each situation that comes up. For more information on LNT, go to www.LNT.org.

What is Leave No Trace?
Leave No Trace (LNT) is about attitude and ethics. It’s about taking personal responsibility to respect and care for our limited wildland resources and the experiences of other outdoor enthusiasts. Low-impact skills and knowledge are also an important part of LNT, but without the right attitude and ethic, they are useless. You must commit yourself to apply them, to practice good stewardship.

Leave No Trace extends the National Park Service mission to you and challenges you to “…conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Leave them unimpaired = Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is also a universal education message and a national program led by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and adopted by the four federal land management agencies and many state and municipal agencies and private nonprofit organizations.

Why Practice Leave No Trace (LNT)?
What you do on your visit counts: Attitude, Ethics, Commitment, Stewardship.

Make the commitment. Please practice Leave No Trace.

Seven simple LNT principles emerged from forty years of research and management of outdoor recreation resources. The principles:

apply to all public and private lands, and all outdoor recreation activities in the backcountry and frontcountry, are based on ecological and social science research, and

are guidelines that require careful thought for changing conditions (e.g., weather, group size, etc.) and special considerations for sensitive environments such as alpine areas, deserts, caves, and arid river corridors.

Leave No Trace (LNT) and Park Regulations
LNT principles are not rules or regulations. If everyone practiced LNT, we would need few park regulations. Alas, we are all imperfect humans. Regulations are an important supplemental tool for rangers to ensure unimpaired park resources and high-quality visitor experiences. LNT principles are linked closely to many park regulations.

Did You Know?

painting of mission with wagon in front

The Whitmans’ mission was important to early Oregon Trail travelers. Those who were sick, tired, or hungry or who needed a wagon fixed would make the side trip to the mission. Some would spend the winter with the Whitmans before continuing on to the Willamette Valley.