Minimising Our Impact Outdoors
Minimal Impact Adventurous Activities
These guidelines have been developed for activities such as camping, bushwalking, cross country skiing and rock climbing. They’re based upon the principles of ‘Leave No Trace’.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Educate yourself on the area. Ask for local advice, be aware of relevant regulations and consult maps and appropriate websites.
- Plan for your group. Take into account group size, experience and capabilities.
- Be prepared for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies. Check the Vic Emergency website to stay up to date with local emergencies.
- Avoid high use periods if possible. This minimizes environmental impact and can improve the experience for the group.
- Use proper gear. Appropriate, well maintained equipment will make your experience more enjoyable and minimize your environmental impact.
- Plan your meals. Adventure meals must be nutritious and provide energy, but they should also be the right portion size, with minimal packaging, to reduce waste.
Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Use established campsites rather than making a new site. Good campsites are found, not made.
- Trenches should not be dug for any reason.
- Don’t place your tent on animal trails.
- Protect water sources. Camp at least 50 metres away from lakes, streams and rivers.
- Stay on designated tracks to reduce impact on other areas, don’t create your own tracks.
- If planning an off-track adventure, make sure you have the appropriate skills. Spread out any impact, use durable surfaces and be aware of threatened species.
- When breaking camp, return the area to a natural state. Cover scuffed areas with leaf litter and return any sticks and rocks that you’ve moved.
Dispose of waste properly
- Avoid polluting water sources. Eliminate contact with insects and animals. Maximise decomposition.
- Take time to locate and use toilets where possible. If no toilet is available, a hole can be dug for human waste, at least 10-15cm deep and over 100m from water sources, campsites and tracks. Toilet paper should be carried out or buried – not burnt! Feminine hygiene products should not be buried or burnt.
- Avoid using soaps. If necessary, dispose of soaps at least 100m from a water source
- Remove all rubbish and utilise ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’
Leave what you find
- Respect the cultural artefacts of indigenous culture, and leave them in place, undisturbed. Be respectful of sacred sites, don’t take photos or damage the site in any way.
- Conserve the past, including both indigenous and European heritage.
- Leave natural objects undisturbed. Take only photographs, leave only footprints.
- Ensure that gear is cleaned between uses to prevent the spread of invasive species.
Minimise campfire impacts
- No fires should be lit in designated wilderness areas, above the tree line, or in designated “fuel stove only” areas.
- Use a stove rather than a campfire
- Check local regulations and conditions for campfires and stoves, including fire danger ratings, total fire ban days, and local practices for disposing of ash and coals
- Do not light fires in dangerous conditions. Consider the heat, wind and fuel build up around the site.
- Build a minimum impact fire. Use existing fire places, keep fire size to a minimum and use dead and fallen wood. Don’t burn plastics or metals on a campfire. Raise the fire off the ground where possible.
- Never leave a fire or stove unattended.
- Observe wildlife from a distance, and avoid disturbing animals during sensitive times like mating and breeding season.
- Never feed animals, deliberately or inadvertently. Store all food and rubbish securely.
Be Considerate of your hosts and other visitors
- Respect traditional owners and their country, including being aware of sacred sites and practices.
- Respect other visitors and the quality of their experience. Keep noise levels down and don’t dominate natural viewing areas.
- Be friendly to other people enjoying nature. Maintain a cooperative spirit by sharing information, and make room when passing others on the track, river or road.
The most important thing to take with you is the right attitude - that is, the utmost effort to leave no trace of your visit. It is a gift to future visitors and a gift back to the environment you have been privileged to enjoy.