We've partnered with Leave No Trace to craft these seven principles to follow while visiting Marquette County to keep our forests, lakes, and natural spaces as special as when you found them.
1. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Learn about the areas you plan to visit and prepare appropriately. Research trail use, conditions, terrain, your route, and campsite availability.
Many of our trails were not built to handle a high volume of visitors. Avoid the crowds and prevent trail damage by visiting during off times such as early morning, late in the day, or on weekdays. Have a backup plan in case parking lots are full.
Download maps on your phone or bring paper maps of where you would like to hike. Mobile service is not always available.
2. STICK TO TRAILS & CAMPSITES
Walk and ride on designated trails to protect trailside plants and respect private property. While some shortcuts may be tempting, sticking to the trail will prevent erosion and the creation of new trails.
When trails are wet and muddy, walk through the puddles instead of around them to prevent trail widening. In these conditions, consider saving your ride for another day.
Camp only in existing or designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation. Before your visit, research campsite availability. Allow ample time once you arrive to locate a site and have a backup plan if campsites are full.
3. TRASH YOUR TRASH
When nature calls and bathrooms are not available, bury human waste in a hole 6-8 inches deep and 70 big steps from water, camp, and trails. Put litter–even crumbs, peels, and cores–in garbage bags and carry it home. Trash, including food waste, can take years to decompose and is unhealthy for wildlife.
Protect wildlife, water sources, and other visitors by using a bag and packing out your pet’s poop to the closest garbage can.
4. LEAVE IT AS YOU FIND IT
Protect nature and reduce the spread of invasive species by brushing off boots and bike tires. If boating, clean, drain and dry all water crafts before and after every outing.
Leave plants, rocks, and other natural items as you find them so others can enjoy them.
5. BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE
If you want to have a campfire, be sure it’s permitted and safe to build a fire in the area you’re visiting. Use only existing fire rings to protect the ground from heat.
Help prevent wildfires by keeping fires small and burning all wood to ash. Dowse your fire with water so it is cool to the touch before you leave. Buy firewood locally or gather on site if allowed. Firewood brought from home can harbor trees killing insects and diseases. Check local regulations before gathering any firewood.
6. KEEP WILDLIFE WILD
Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach or follow them. Give animals extra space during sensitive times such as mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Protect wildlife by securely storing your meals and trash, and never feeding them. Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them starts bad habits.
7. SHARE OUR TRAILS & MANAGE YOUR PET
Be courteous by yielding to other users on the trail. Hikers yield to uphill hikers, bikers yield to hikers and everyone yields to horses and wheelchairs. When passing other users on the trail, communicate verbally that you are approaching and go past carefully.
Keep pets leashed and under control. Not everyone enjoys our pets as much as we do. This includes wildlife, other dogs, and other visitors. Keeping your pet leashed protects your pet and wildlife, and ensures everyone has a good time.
©Leave No Trace: www.LNT.org