Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Know the regulations and special concerns of Yosemite for stock users.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups with the minimum number of animals necessary. Split larger parties into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Take only what equipment you need, to reduce the number of animals needed.
- Take only animals that are fit, calm, and experienced.
- Practice at home the techniques to be used in Wilderness before heading out.
- Have prior experience with backpackers, llamas, and other odd-looking Wilderness users.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Obey camping setbacks from lakes, streams, trails, other campsites, and historic and cultural sites and structures.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- Tie stock so they cannot chew on tree bark or eat the leaves of woody vegetation. A hitch line between trees is recommended. Wrap trees under rope to protect bark.
- Fill in all holes and return all trampled areas to their natural state.
- Do not tie stock to trees, except for rest or loading and unloading.
- Do not picket stock in wet meadows.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
Dispose of Waste Properly
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug six inches deep at least 100 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 100 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Rake or scatter manure at all rest stops and when breaking camp.
Leave What You Find
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Instead, consider using a lightweight stove for cooking and a candle lantern for light.
- Use established fire rings or fire pans.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash and put out campfires completely.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations, grain, and trash in allowed bear-resistant panniers.
- Leave pets at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Some backcountry users are unfamiliar with stock. When exercising the general rule of livestock right-of-way over hikers, the hiker should politely be asked to step off the trail on the uphill side in plain view and remain quiet until stock has passed.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The above information is adapted from the Leave No Trace: Center for Outdoor Ethics. Visit their website for more detailed information on the seven principles of Leave No Trace and suggestions you can use to help plan a trip to wilderness.