Leave No Trace
Take only photos, leave nothing but footprints.
Nature Tours is dedicated to low impact traveling where ever we go in the Yukon wilderness.
We educate our guest on the importance of the No-Trace principles.
Best environmental practices on Yukon rivers and trails.
When traveling on Yukon’s rivers and trails there are two main areas of concern:
Your impact on the environment (plants, animals, water, soil)
Your impact on other travelers (tourists, residents, First Nations people, trappers and fishers)
Here is how we minimize our impact.
1. Plan ahead and prepare
We leave all unnecessary food packaging at home. Doing so we can easily cut down on wrappers and plastics by half. If we pack it in, we pack it out. If we find waste left by others, and if it’s safe to do so, we’ll pack it out also.
- We plan our menu in detail ahead of time
- We purchase the quantities we need
- We repack food and equipment to eliminate plastic wrap and cardboard boxes
2. Dispose of waste properly
It is illegal to leave garbage in the wilderness! Pack out all garbage and throw it away in town. Do not bury it or throw it in the river. Animals can smell buried garbage and are attracted to campsites where garbage has been left behind: this is very dangerous for the next person. We burn garbage in a hot fire. When the fire is out, we pick out any remaining garbage and we take it with us.
- We carry garbage in a bag, then seal it in a container (river barrel). We pack it out and throw it away / recycle in town.
- Soap, even biodegradable soap, harms fish! We wash your dishes away from lakes, rivers and streams (min. 70 meters/66 yards)
- We pour waste water in sandy soil or gravel away from camp, not on plants
- We have our washing and toilet areas in places where other people will not put their tents
Encountering someone’s human waste in the wilderness is a bummer! Do your business where other people will not find it and where it will not leach into the water. Animals dig up buried toilet paper, so put it in your garbage or burn it in a hot fire at your campsite.
We practise the ‘shovel - paper bag in plastic bag’ method. All our guests are made familiar with the best practise of “how to shit in the woods”. Any toilet tissue will be removed and not left behind.
- We keep toilet as far from the water and camp as possible (min. 70 meters/66 yards)
- We bury human waste in hole
- We put toilet paper in a bag, pack out or burn it in our next fire
3. Minimize the impact of campfires
Campfires are one of the greatest joys of river travel, but they are also the biggest problem. Scars left from fires and cutting firewood last longer than your lifetime. We do not use an axe or saw to hack down trees and bushes around camp. We try our best not to damage the environment. We only use fallen wood to be used for fires and such.
It is illegal to leave a campfire burning when you leave your camp! Most forest fires in the Yukon are started by people. A match or cigarette dropped on the ground or an unattended or improperly doused campfire can easily start a forest fire.
- We'll bring a stove for cooking
- We use existing fire pits
- Small campfires are safer and better for cooking
- We use only dead wood found on the ground or “standing dead wood”
- Before we leave our campsite, we drench our fire with water until it is cold enough to hold in your hand!
- We take all garbage out of the fire pit and put in our garbage
4. Camp and walk on durable surfaces
The growing season is very short in the north. Vegetation that is trampled will die. Soil can easily become compacted then plants will no longer grow in it.
- Put tents and kitchen on sand or gravel whenever possible
- Avoid camping or building fires on plants
- Use existing trails or avoid trampling vegetation
5. Leave what you find
Structures along the river may belong to hunting and fishing camps. The area may look abandoned, but the owner will be there later in another season. Please respect private property.
- Enjoy wildflowers without picking them
- Leave living trees and bushes standing
- It is illegal to disturb or remove historical artifacts
- Don’t build furniture
6. Respect wildlife
Every animal species has its own ‘personal space’ requirements. It can be difficult to tell when an animal is becoming stressed by your presence – some simply stand still to appear less obvious. If an animal feels that you are a threat to itself, its young, or its food source, it may charge at you or attack. Too much stress can even interfere with an animal’s ability to reproduce, or cause it to be separated from or abandon its young. The more human stress an animal experiences, the less likely it is to stay ‘wild’. Small animals that become accustomed to people, like squirrels and whiskey jacks, become a nuisance around camp. Large animals, like bears and wolves, become very dangerous.
- Use a spotting scope or binoculars to view animals from a safe distance
- Photograph with a telephoto lens
- Do not approach or feed any animal
7. Look after what we have
Remember you are not the first and not the last person to visit the site you are at so, try to look after it as best you can and leave no trace. That way, it will be just as nice for the next person to enjoy.
If everyone could just put in a little effort, it would be a significant benefit to the environment and would ensure all can enjoy it for many years to come. Please travel thoughtfully and preserve Yukon’s wilderness!
Take only photos, leave nothing but footprints!