Editor’s note: This blog was written by ICL’s summer intern in North Idaho, Nathan Faggard.

Each year, as part of ICL’s North Idaho adventure series, we instill the importance of following Leave No Trace principles while recreating in our wild places. The simple idea is to leave the landscape as you found it-with no trace that you visited.

As a certified Leave No Trace instructor, I was pegged to lead a Leave No Trace hike into one of the most popular and most impacted areas in the Selkirk Mountains, Harrison Lake. So with a diverse group of teens and adult hikers in tow, we set off on the trail on warm, sunny  summer’s day.

The hike went incredibly well to Harrison, with all the participants having a great time learning about the Leave No Trace program. This program,  originally started by the U.S. Forest Service, has since been reorganized as a nonprofit organization based out of Boulder, Colo. The goal of Leave No Trace  is to increase public awareness of how we affect  environments as we travel through them as well as how we can reduce our effects.

Leave No Trace has broken this goal into seven key principles that everyone can practice in the backcountry so that outdoor recreation can have as few impacts as possible:

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors

The hike I led was with a fantastic group of folks, all of whom where enthusiastic about learning the Leave No Trace principles and implementing them on  our hike for the day. None of these hikers had ever been up to the lake, and the message really hit  home as to how important it is to have as little impact  as possible to preserve areas as stunning as this one.

To learn more about these  principles, check out the Leave No Trace  website  or contact me until Monday, Aug 22 (when I’m off to college and other adventures).

Also, be sure to check out the list of ICL’s adventure outings planned for the rest of the summer. Then sign up for one or for all of them!