7 Tips for Leaving No Trace at New Hampshire Parks

By: Megan Spencer

As we get closer to the summer months, and more outdoor adventurers begin visiting New Hampshire State Parks, it’s a great time to refresh on Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Here are 7 tips to get the most out of your time at New Hampshire State Parks, while protecting our natural resources!

Plan and Prepare Ahead

It’s time to start planning your summer trip to a New Hampshire State Park! Start by doing a little research visiting the park website. Choose your own adventure deciding which park to explore, hikes to traverse, and prime spots to camp. Plan ahead to limit your impact on natural areas and learn about the area you plan to visit. Don’t forget! Check the weather before you come, it could change at a moment’s notice!

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

You’ve just picked a beautiful hike with spectacular sites. But wait! Stay on trail during your exploration to avoid damage to vegetation, reduce land scarring, and reduce your chance of getting lost. This also gives animals plenty of space to roam without the disturbance of humans. If you choose to camp, do so in designated camping areas or on durable surfaces like dirt and gravel to limit potential damage to vegetation!

Dispose of Waste Properly

Now it’s time to stop for a midday lunch break! You’ve packed a good sandwich, trail mix, fresh fruit, and plenty of water, but all this food can create lots of waste. Limit the amount of plastic wrapping and bags you bring with you and if you “pack it in, pack it out.” It’s easy to accidentally leave trash behind. To avoid this, think ahead and bring an extra bag for all you waste. After you finish, do a sweep of any area you stopped to eat or camp. Litter and trash can be harmful to local animals and the environment.

Leave What You Find

Exploring new scenery and the outdoors is a wonderful part about visiting a new place. There are wildflowers, trees, rocks, and more to spot! Although it may be tempting to take a piece home with you, always leave what you find! If there’s something cool, take a picture or sketch it out, then place it back and let others enjoy! If everyone took a piece home with them there would be nothing left for others to see. Leave areas as you find them!

Minimize Campfire Impact

After a long day of adventuring outdoors, now you can relax by the fire. Camping is one of the best ways to spend time outdoors. You get to use your skills building a fire, cook dinners on the fire, and make yummy camping desserts. But starting a fire always comes with risks. You should always check the fire danger and campground regulations. To protect the environment, use existing fire rings, bring firewood from a local source, and stay with the fire while it’s burning.

Respect Wildlife

While camping, keep an eye out for local wildlife. In New Hampshire, it’s common to see moose, porcupines, birds, and more! Keep in mind, this is their home and we are merely visitors. Always observe from a safe distance. Giving them space lessens humans’ impact on their daily lives. Avoid petting or feeding wildlife. This can stress animals out or make them sick from eating food not meant for them.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Always consider other visitors when outdoors. They’re here to enjoy nature just as you are! Outdoors can feel very crowded when you visit during peak times like the summer, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, and during the weekend. Try visiting during off times. If you’re traveling in large groups or with pets keep your noise levels down and pets on leash at all times. We’re all here to enjoy our time in nature!

Now it’s time to actually get outside! Use these principles to get the most out of your time spent at a New Hampshire State Park!

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Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

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