Aztec Recreation Photo 2
Aztec Recreation Photo 1
Aztec Recreation Photo 1

Leave No Trace

Aztec Adventures in light

For as long as our program has been in existence we have been committed to role modeling an environmental ethic and teaching our trip members to minimize their impact. We are members of Leave No Trace—Center for Outdoor Ethics through our affiliation with the Wilderness Education Association and offer LNT Training Courses.

Shadows of people

Leave No Trace is a national and international program designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impacts when they hike, camp, picnic, snowshoe, run, bike, hunt, paddle, ride horses, fish, ski or climb. The program strives to educate all those who enjoy the outdoors about the nature of their recreational impacts as well as techniques to prevent and minimize such impacts. Leave No Trace is best understood as an educational and ethical program, not as a set of rules and regulations. For an amazing amount of information visit the Leave No Trace website


Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  •  Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
In Popular Areas:
  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
In Pristine Areas:
  • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
  • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

Dispose of waste properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in cat holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cat hole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave what you find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, and then scatter cool ashes.

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises

In Addition

Aztec Adventures by the river

Your trip leaders will educate and advise you on specific practices for your particular outing.  We hope you will embrace Leave No Trace principles and adopt them as your own for future outdoor travels.

Small Group Travel:  At Aztec Adventures, all of our groups consist of 8-12 trip members and two leaders.  Travelling in small groups enhances cohesion and provides more solitude and enjoyment.  In addition the chance of viewing wildlife is enhanced.

Minimize Waste:  Invest in durable long lasting water bottles.  Repackage snacks into re-sealable bags.

Smoking:  It bothers everyone that doesn’t.  If you must smoke, it would be greatly appreciated if you would do so well away from the group and in a safe place.  Please pack out all cigarette butts with the rest of your waste.

Food Disposal & Washing Dishes:  As soon as you are finished eating, scrape all remaining food into a garbage bag for proper disposal to avoid particles sticking/drying.  Depending on the trip we wash dishes the traditional way with three tubs (soap, rinse, bleach) or we sterilize by submerging all dishes and utensils in boiling water for 60 seconds.

Hygiene:  Many of our trip members are camping for the first time.  We offer the following advice to make your outing more comfortable and enjoyable.

  • Bathing:  Focus on keeping your hands, face and feet clean.  All soaps, even biodegradable, harm fresh water sources—so stay 200 feet or more away.  Soap and water are not always readily available (desert travel) so we suggest unscented wet wipes, hand sanitizer and baby powder for those particularly sweaty areas!
  • Teeth:  Try brushing without paste then rinse and dab a little paste on your tongue rubbing it on your teeth to freshen your mouth.   This eliminates the need to spit out nasty, frothy spittle all over the ground and vegetation.   Pack your floss out with the other garbage.
  • Relieving oneself:  Some people cringe at the thought of peeing and pooping when there is no toilet.  Where do I go?  Is anyone looking? I have to pack out my toilet paper?  Can’t I just hold it?  All common concerns, but we offer you an opportunity for challenge and personal growth!
    • Urinating:  Please pee in non-vegetated areas well away from campsites, trails and water sources.  Animals and insects are attracted to the smell and salt residual.  On large rivers (e.g. Colorado river) or at the ocean, you can urinate directly in the water or as close to the shoreline as possible.  The large volume of water will dilute your pee rapidly.  
    • Pooping:  A good number of our outings have existing toilet facilities.  However, our more remote trips will have no such luxuries.  In this event there are three objectives for disposing of fecal waste. 
      1. Minimize or eliminate the chance of water pollution
      2. Minimize the chance of anyone or anything finding the waste. 
      3. Maximize or promote the rate of decomposition.

        Graphic details:
        • Locate a spot at least 200 feet from any water source, campsite, trails or popular areas.
        • Dig a cat hole at least 6-8 inches deep with a trowel or a stick.
        • Drop your pants (or take them off), squat down, and place your heels at the edge of the hole to guarantee hitting your target!
        • Clean up with toilet paper and wet wipes.  Pack out paper in a designated double Ziploc bag.  For the ultimate challenge of minimizing the use of toilet paper clean up with smooth stones, sticks, moss, leaves, or snow.
        • Feminine products must also be packed out in double Ziploc bags.  Odor can be controlled with crushed aspirin or used tea bags.
        • Fill the hole back up using a stick, not the trowel, and use leaves and other debris to camouflage the site.
        • Wash your hands really well, especially under your finger nails, with soap.
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