Leave No Trace Principles for Stock

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.

Respect Wildlife

  • 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.

Last updated: September 3, 2014

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