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LNT: Plan Ahead and Prepare

Posted by Sharon Harrington on

The first of the seven Leave No Trace principles, Plan Ahead and Prepare means more than just, “know where you’re going.” By looking ahead and considering details of your trip, you’ll be able to quickly recognize when you are in a dangerous situation and you’ll have the proper gear to react in a way that’s safe for you and the environment.

According to Leave No Trace principles, planning ahead involves carefully considering the participants in the trip. Know what each person is capable of, and don’t try to do more than that. Know what you want to accomplish and organize your trip based on everyone’s skill levels and goals. Research where you’re headed to be sure you’re bringing the proper equipment. And, once you’re back, recognize what did and didn’t work so you can avoid the same challenges on your next adventure.

When planning your trip, keep in mind the regulations of the area you’ll be in. Know where private land boundaries are and what activities (such as camping and fires) are prohibited in such areas. Be sure to check out the terrain on a map to ensure that it matches the ability of all group members. And always check the weather!!

There is nothing more frightening than having things go awry while in the woods and not having a good plan B (or plan A, for that matter). Knowing the weather will prevent getting stuck on a ridgeline during a lightening storm. Being aware of the area’s regulations means you won’t be making a campfire where one is prohibited. Establishing goals during your planning will ensure that everyone enjoys their time outdoors. Planning ahead will allow your group to easily comply with the remaining six Leave No Trace principles!