How to Keep Utah Beautiful and Bright
We all have an impact on Utah. Make yours a positive one.
With 10 million visitors per year, Utah experiences a lot of impacts from tourism. An impact can be a single footprint in cryptobiotic soil or a granola bar left behind on the beach. You can help minimize your impact by practicing the seven principles of Leave No Trace. Basically be thoughtful of where you walk, where you poop and where you camp. We ‘preciate ya doing your part!
Ways to Minimize Your Impact
Whether you are lacing up your first hiking boot or getting your Scarpas resoled, you can help preserve Utah’s natural beauty.
Plan and Prepare
Being prepared for your Utah adventure is the first step to preventing unnecessary impacts. Are you ready for Utah? Do you have the skills, gear and knowledge of the areas you will be visiting?
Take the Road Already Taken
Utah’s terrain looks tough, but it's actually as tender as the underbelly of a tadpole. It will take a long time to heal from rogue trails, roads and campsites. Using established trails and campsites prevents soil erosion and disturbances to plants and animals.
Don’t Waste Utah
If you brought it with you, please take it with you. That means garbage and food scraps — a banana peel can take two years to decompose — but it also means your personal waste, like poop. Poop can spread disease to other humans and wildlife, an outcome we would all like to avoid. Disposable Toilet Systems are great for when nature calls and modern plumbing can’t answer.
If You Love It Leave It
In Utah’s backcountry, finders are not keepers. Cultural artifacts like pottery shards and arrowheads need to stay put. Share your interesting finds with future visitors by leaving them where you found them. Even a little piece of pottery is better left on the ground than on your bookshelf.
Try Moonlight Instead of Firelight
Unfortunately for those of us who love s’mores, campfires are a very high impact activity. Firewood brought from home can harbor invasive insects. Firewood harvested from campsites can destroy habitat. And of course, forest fires are always a threat. Try going without a campfire and enjoy the moon and stars instead.
Let Wildlife Do Their Thing
When visiting animals in their home, be very polite. Don’t offer them any food or get too close. Anything that alters their natural behavior is considered an impact and stresses their life cycles. Animals like Moose, Bison and Elk seem docile but are best observed from a distance.
Be Considerate of Others
Your idea of an outdoor experience might be very different from that of your fellow visitor. And that's okay! There is enough room for everyone. Remember to share the space with other recreators. And be courteous of your hosts, whether that be a state park, tribal park or national park.
- Camp in designated campsites
- Have a responsible campfire or no campfire at all
- Take your garbage and poop with you
- Be considerate of your camping neighbors
- Put food away where animals can’t access it
- Stay on the trail to lower impact on soil and vegetation
- Pack out all waste, even little specks of food
- Give wildlife their space
- Share the trail with other trail users like mountain bikers
- Be prepared for the current conditions
- Watch for animals on the road for their safety and yours
- Drive the appropriate vehicle for the season
- Be a good example to Utahn drivers on how to drive (Haha)
- Pick up that soda can that rolled out of your footwell
- Pull over to sightsee in designated spots
- Match your skill level to route difficulty so you can stay safe
- Be respectful of and avoid cultural resources like rock art and prehistoric dwellings
- Learn and follow local climbing etiquette
- Use rock-colored chalk or no chalk at all
- Use established trails to avoid impacting plants and soil
- Educate yourself on avalanche safety in the backcountry
- Hire an experienced backcountry skiing guide
- Ski within boundaries at the resorts
- Carpool or take public transport to resorts
- Bring a disposable toilet system or WAG bag
- Get the right kind of PFD for your activity
- Obtain a permit, if needed
- Use eco-friendly sunscreen
- Clean your watercraft after use as to not transfer invasive species
- Use established boat ramps and beaches to protect riparian zones
- Give right-of-way to hikers, bikers and horseback riders
- Stay on designated trails
- Follow local noise ordinances
- Wear safety gear like helmets and seat belts
- Bring repair kits for each type of vehicle in your party