”Leave No Trace” 

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club uses the Leave No Trace (LNT), a national educational wilderness program designed to mitigate natural resource concerns through voluntary compliance. At the heart of LNT are seven principals for reducing damage caused by outdoor activities, particularly non-motorized recreation. LNT concepts can be applied anywhere, in remote wilderness, city parks, and in any recreational endeavor.


A group of hikers on the Appalachian Trail
A group of hikers on the Appalachian Trail

Today, use of designated wilderness areas has increased from 4 million people in 1964, to 7 million people in 1974, to 15 million in 1984, 21 million in 1994 and nearly 30 million users in 2000. That’s a 750% increase in 39 years! As cities grow and populations encroach upon wildlands and recreation areas we must do more than just pick up the litter and extinguish campfires. We must learn how to maintain the integrity and character of the outdoors for all living things.

Environmental problems on the AT in Maine, parallel natural resource concerns in the backcountry throughout the nation. Heavier “traffic” from a burgeoning demand accounts for the following problems: damage to the footpath and erosion, bootleg camping causing sprawling, destructive impact on habitats, destruction of rare alpine plants on summits, water pollution from human waste, and the loss of a wilderness experience. LNT principals are universal; however, the AT in Maine is a specific place. We have established guidelines relevant to the unique needs of the AT in Maine.

Few things in this world are black and white. Paul Petzol said it best, “Rules are for fools!” Situation and judgment dictate actions. A knowledgeable person will make choices that will be best for the Trail environment. With this in mind, we offer these pages to explain in detail and explore best practices for living lightly on the AT in Maine.

Read More about Leave No Trace


Leave No Trace

 

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