Leave No Trace Trainer


LNT Principles are crucial for minimizing camping and climbing impacts on busy peaks.

LNT Principles are crucial for minimizing camping and climbing impacts on busy peaks.  Adventure Consultants

  • A boy scout group leaves a series of fire rings in a backcountry camp, when they should have disassembled them and scattered the ashes.
  • A rock climber places shiny silver bolts directly above a popular trail, when he should have painted the bolts to match the rock.
  • A fisherman leaves used toilet paper strewn on the trees near his backcountry latrine, when he should have dug a cathole to bury his waste while packing out his toilet paper.
  • A backpacker picks up an ancient Indian arrowhead to bring home and make a necklace, when he should have left it because it loses it's archaeological value once it leaves its resting place.

Each of the preceding are examples of people who are not effectively using a Leave No Trace ethic in the wilderness. At its core, LNT is about leaving natural places as you found them and attempting not to change them in a negative way.

Every time we step into the backcountry we have an impact. We walk on terrain that may be changed by our method of travel. We build fires and go to the bathroom. We pick up interesting things and often – usually unintentionally – leave trash.  The Leave No Trace Trainer program was designed to help you mitigate these impacts and to teach others how to do the same.

Backcountry land managers throughout the country are beginning to see the value of this training program, and many ranger districts and national parks now require those who work in the backcountry to be certified LNT Trainers.  It is likely that more land managers will require this in the coming years.


Certification Conferred

Those who complete this training will be certified Leave No Trace Trainers by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.


Other Course Options

For those who desire a higher level of training, check out our 5-day Leave No Trace Master Educator courses. These courses are designed both for general outdoor leaders and also for professionals who will be training and/or supervising other educators in the delivery of the LNT curriculum.

Leave No Trace Trainer


The Leave No Trace Trainer Course was designed to be a two-day program with two objectives. The first is for students to have a better understanding of the prinicpals of Leave No Trace, and the second is to complete some kind of wilderness objective. Many of these courses take place on a short overnight backpacking trip or on a basic alpine climb.  Following are a few of the possible objectives:

  • Mountaineering - Ruth Glacier, Ruth Mountain , WA (easy to moderate glacier climbing with a 5-mile approach)
  • Backpacking - Eastern Sierra, CA (routes vary by season)
  • Scrambling - Bridge Mountain, Red Rock Canyon, NV (3rd and 4th class scramble to the top of Red Rock Canyon)


Principals of Leave No Trace

Each of the students in the LNT Trainer course will be assigned one of the following principals of Leave No Trace. The student will prepare a short lesson on his or her topic and then the group will discuss how that particualr topic pertains to the terrain around them, as well as to how it might pertain to the places the students work or visit regularly. 

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

Good trails decrease trail braiding.

Good trails decrease trail braiding. Jason Martin

  • 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:
    • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
    • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
    • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
  • 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 catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole 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, 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.


A WAG Bag Dispenser for human waste disposal.

A WAG Bag Dispenser for human waste disposal. Scott Massey

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.

Leave No Trace Trainer

Dates & Details

  • Jun 08 - 09, 2019 - Ruth Mountain Climb, Cascades, WA
  • Jul 06 - 07, 2019 - Ruth Mountain Climb, Cascades, WA
  • Aug 24 - 25, 2019 - Ruth Mountain Climb, Cascades, WA
  • Sep 14 - 15, 2019 - Ruth Mountain Climb, Cascades, WA


Private Program Pricing

In remote settings employing LNT principles can help you greatly reduce your impacts.

In remote settings employing LNT principles can help you greatly reduce your impacts. Shawn Olson

AAI has discounted rates for outdoor education groups like the Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts that would like to obtain LNT Certification. These prices are based on the group size and are competitive.


Private Programming

The Leave No Trace Trainer program can be offered on a private basis in any location where we are permitted to work. The pricing varies based on instructor logistics. Please contact the AAI office for more information.

Leave No Trace Trainer

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