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Planning Your Leave No Trace Elopement

January 28, 2021

let’s talk about your Leave No Trace Elopement

What’s the big deal about a Leave No Trace Elopement and why it is something you should even consider when it comes to your elopement day?? Well simply put, its the act of trying to leave the outdoors as wild as it was before you, so others can enjoy it for generations. Before we get into the nitty gritty…let’s talk about why I care about it so much.

Why Leave No Trace Matters to Me

Ever since I was little I’ve loved the outdoors. I didn’t grow up in the mountains though. I’m just a Florida girl, born and raised. But we had a big backyard that opened up to a great big field. I used to spend so many afternoons outside playing. I loved trying to learn all about the different plants and animals native to my area. I even had a nature guide book that had ALL the facts I could want as an 8 year old girl, even animal tracks!

Mount Rainier Cascade Mountain Range

Now as a mom, I try to instill the values of the outdoors and nature into our family whenever possible. We homeschool our 3 boys and nature studies are key in our house. So naturally, nature walks are part of everyday life. Looking for unique plants is one of the ways we enjoy being outside. We’re always trying to learn something new about the outdoors. Our family bucket list is to visit all of the National Parks in the U.S.


Now let’s get into what Leave No Trace Stands For:

the 7 principles of the Leave no trace foundation

  1. Plan ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Let’s Break it Down

1. Planning Ahead

To start with, researching before you head out on hikes or camping trips can make all the difference in the world. Look ahead at the weather conditions, fire bans, and trail conditions before heading out. It’s also not as hard or time consuming as you may think. Calling a local ranger is the best way to find out all the important info you need to know. Most rangers are super helpful and love being able to help people out! Taking some time to do some digging will no doubt help you avoid unwanted surprises on your elopement day.

2. Traveling on Durable Surfaces

Secondly, make sure to stick to the official trails. As much as you may want to frolic through the gorgeous wildflower fields, try and avoid it. Wildflowers take much longer to recover from damage than it seems.

Also make sure to avoid any other fragile vegetation or waterways. BUT don’t worry, we can still get those epic wild shots your heart desires while staying on trail. There are many easy ways to give the illusion of being in that flowery terrain, while still protecting it.

3. Disposing of waste

Now this principle is pretty simple and I’m willing to bet most of you already practice this anyway! It’s easy, just clean up after yourselves. See, straightforward! No one wants to see trash or other…hmm, how to put this gently…bodily waste left laying around. Having a plan on how you will dispose of these things is a great way to ensure you don’t have any accidents (no pun intended) along the way.

This also goes for snacks and other goods you may be bringing with you for when you get hungry. Make sure you always pack it out. Leaving litter scattered around may seem harmless if it’s just you, but once it starts happening it’s like a ripple effect. Before you know it, your favorite trail could be shutdown for restoration.

4. Leave what you find

Guilt aside, I myself have neglected this one in the past. It’s very easy to see an interesting rock or wildflower that you would like to take as a memento of your time in a new and beautiful place. As much as you would love to and it seems harmless, it’s best just to leave it alone. If we all begin to take things, even things that seem abundant, it can really harm the natural balance of the local flora and fauna. Even simple things all serve a purpose in the grand scheme of things. So leaving them for wildlife, and others, helps keep the areas protected.

5. Minimizing Campfire Impacts

There may come a time when you’re out in the backcountry (or at a campground) when you’ll have a need to start a fire. There are a lot of places that can not sustain the demand for firewood and have almost been depleted of something so commonplace. Packing a lightweight camping stove is the number one way you can minimize the effect of a fire when camping. You also need to consider the fact that some areas may be under a fire ban because of the potential for wildfires. Planning ahead will help minimize the risk of unwanted disasters because of either careless, or unknowing actions.

6. Respect Wildlife

It goes without saying that when you decide to venture out into the unpredictable wilderness, you will mostly like encounter wild animals. While some animals may be small and unmenacing, others can pose an extreme danger. So ALWAYS err on the side of caution and do not try and handle or feed wildlife.

7. Be Considerate of Others

Lastly, this principle is more like a moral to live by when recreating in the outdoors and in life period. Chances are if you choose an insanely popular location like Yosemite, Moab, Joshua Tree or so many others, you will come in contact with others. As much as you would like to have the place to yourself, there will be other people who may have traveled a long way to experience the same locations as you have. So ALWAYS, try and be mindful and quiet so that everyone can enjoy their time there equally. Also, if you’d like a truly private experience for you elopement day, there are so many lesser known locations to choose from. Typically these off the beaten path spots, can provide stunning views and the experience you’re craving.

There you have it…

The 7 basic principles of the Leave No Trace Foundation, summed up in a nutshell. If you’d like more in depth information about these and other tips for minimizing your impact, be sure to head to the LNT website here to read more. They have so much useful info that can really help you make a difference every time you head out.

So how will this affect my elopement day?

It won’t, I promise! Yes, I will do my best to be sure that we stick to the LNT guidelines as closely as we can. However, that doesn’t mean your elopement day will be full of rules and no fun! Part of booking your elopement day experience with me is talking through your expectations and ideas before we ever even set out. So no worries, I’ll be here to answer any questions you may have and make sure you have the best day ever!

Providence Canyon Georgia

Here are a few ideas on how to have your own leave no trace elopement:

  1. Try sparkling water instead of regular champagne for those fun champagne pops! Also, pack out the cork and wrappers.
  2. Ditch the confetti altogether, even the biodegradable one’s take FOREVER to break down
  3. Forego tagging your elopement day specific location on social media. Doing so minimizes the risk of too many people who may not be aware how to recreate responsibly in such delicate locations.
  4. If eloping with a group, pick spots that have the infrastructure that can handle the footprint.
  5. Choose local vendors whenever possible. Bringing in flowers from distant areas can introduce harmful chemicals/pests.

Finally, all of this information doesn’t have to be intimidating or be done perfectly every time. We’re all human and we make mistakes. As long as we’re trying to be a little better every time we venture out, we’re making a positive impact. If you want more information regarding this subject, the Leave No Trace Foundation is the BEST BET on getting educated and making the best difference.

Lastly, if you’d like to plan your own LNT elopement, click that button below and I’ll be in touch soon!

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