Leave No Trace

a tent set up on an island, surrounded by water and mountains and a pink sunset sky

Leave No Trace principles are guidelines for backcountry etiquette, helping us to leave places like Glacier Bay as wild and pristine as when we found them. Take only photos, leave only footprints.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Good planning makes it easier to leave no trace in the backcountry.

  • Make realistic goals, based on group members' abilities and experience
  • Know the area and what to expect
  • Check weather conditions
  • Know park regulations
  • Bring the right gear
  • Repackage foods to reduce waste

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Despite its rugged appearance, the backcountry of Glacier Bay is vulnerable to human impact.

  • A good campsite is found and not made
  • When selecting a campsite in more popular areas, concentrate use. Use established campsites where possible.
  • In more remote, pristine areas, avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
  • When kayak camping, the most suitable campsites above the high tide line may be on mossy patches. Avoid trampling more sensitive vegetation.

Dispose of Waste Properly

Proper waste disposal not only keeps the backcountry looking pristine, it is extremely important for health and safety of campers and wildlife.

  • Dispose of trash properly. Be extra careful with small pieces of trash such as plastic wrappers, which can be accidentally dropped or carried away by the wind.
  • Pack out toilet paper-- burning it is not recommended, and it does not biodegrade well when left in nature.
  • On the coast, deposit solid human waste in the intertidal zone, either into the water or as close to it as possible.
  • When not near the ocean, bury waste in a cathole at least 6 inches below the surface and 200 feet from fresh water.
  • Wash dishes and yourself 200 feet from water sources. Use minimal amounts of biodegradable soap.

Leave What You Find

Take only memories (and photos!).

  • Minimize site alterations
  • Leave natural objects and cultural artifacts where they lay
  • Take only edible items such as berries and mushrooms

Minimize Campfire Impacts

Use a stove instead of making campfires. Wood is scarce in the backcounty.

  • Be aware of fire restrictions
  • If you must have a fire: Use only dead and down wood and choose small pieces that will burn completely. Do not cut standing or living trees.
  • Do not burn fossil wood.
  • Burn wood completely, disassemble the fire ring, and scatter the ashes.

Respect Wildlife

In the backcountry, you are a visitor. Be mindful that you are sharing this place with bears, shorebirds and other wild residents. Take care not to let your actions impact their behavior or damage their habitat.

  • Store your food properly. Your safety, the safety of the bear, and the safety of other visitors depends on it!
  • Never feed wildlife!
  • Know and follow area closures and wildlife approach limits.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Keep your group size small to minimize impact.
  • Limit noise in the backcountry, especially when others are nearby
  • Leave your campsite "naturalized" by replacing rocks, picking up bits of trash and scattering natural materials back where they were found.
  • Do not place your campsite where it will intrude on the visual experience of others.
Graphic showing the Leave No Trace booklet showing a boot print in the dirt.

Leave No Trace Materials

Leave No Trace (LNT) Website
Center For Outdoor Ethics
Your Ultimate Source for LNT Information

Last updated: September 7, 2019

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


907 697-2230

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