Leave No Trace – Pick Up Your Waste!

While hiking or camping, you’ve likely seen these slogans: “Pack it in, pack it out. Leave no trace. Cleaner than you found it.” With over 75 million people visiting California state parks every year, any waste left behind adds up. Commit to doing your part by leaving no trace to keep the places that you enjoy clean and preserved for future adventures:

Top 5 Tips to Leave No Trace

  1. Take only what you need – Avoid bringing anything that might create waste or be easily left behind. Bring a reusable water bottle and limit the amount of single-use items (i.e., plastic water bottles, utensils, and single-serve snack bags).
  2. Be mindful – Stopping for a quick snack? Take out only what you need, and secure any trash or wrappers inside your pack instead of an outside pocket, where it might slip out.
  3. Double-check your surroundings – Scan your environment before taking off to check that nothing is left behind, especially small items that can be easily missed, like wrappers and bottle caps.
  4. Not your waste? Pick it up anyway! Carry a trash bag (or use pet waste bags if you have pets!) on your outings for any litter you may stumble upon on your way. Every bit counts!
  5. See something, say something – Notice that someone dropped an item? Alert them politely of the dropped item, and if appropriate, offer to help dispose of the item if it is of no use to them. Raising awareness about the importance of reducing litter can have a positive ripple effect.

To take your efforts a step further, participate in local park and beach clean-ups, or explore these fun interactive activities from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

Otherwise, simply aim to pick up one piece of litter in future outdoor adventures — every little action helps!