Leave No Trace Ireland aims to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, store research and partnerships. Leave No Trace Ireland began in 2004 as a concerted effort across a range of recreational and land-managing bodies to address the increasing burden of negative impacts on the mountains. Today, Leave No Trace Ireland exists as a not-for-profit company run by volunteers and employing one part-time person.
At the heart of Leave No Trace is an educational message that encourages us as recreational users to understand the consequences of our actions, and challenges us to make good choices when we do our activities in the outdoors. The Leave No Trace programme uses a framework of seven principles to guide us towards better choices:
- Before you go check, where possible, if access is allowed and your activity is permitted in the area you wish to visit.
- Respect any signs, regulations, policies and special concerns for the area that you wish to visit. Permits may sometimes be needed for activities on public lands.
- Where possible travel by public transport or share cars; consider the availability of parking.
- Ensure you have the skills and equipment needed for your activity and to cope with emergencies that could arise.
- Check the weather forecast and always be prepared for changing weather conditions.
- For environmental and safety reasons, and to minimise your impact on other users, keep group numbers small; split larger parties into smaller groups.
2. Be Considerate of Others
- Respect the people who live and work in the countryside.
- Park appropriately – avoid blocking gateways, forest entrances or narrow roads. Remember that farm machinery, local residents and the emergency services may need access at all times.
- Take care not to damage property, especially walls, fences and crops.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Let nature’s sounds prevail. Keep noise to a minimum.
3. Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife
- Dogs should be kept under close control and should only be brought onto hills or farmland with the landowner’s permission. Some public areas stipulate that dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, please adhere to local guidelines.
- Observe wild animals and birds from a distance. Avoid disturbing them, particularly at sensitive times: mating, nesting and raising young (mostly between spring and early summer).
- Keep wildlife wild, don’t feed wild animals or birds – our foods damage their health and leave them vulnerable to predators.
- Farm animals are not pets; remain at a safe distance.
Durable ground includes established tracks and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing tracks and campsites.
- To avoid further erosion, travel in single file in the middle of the track even when wet or muddy.
In more remote areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of new tracks and campsites.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning to show.
- Protect water quality by camping at least 30m from lakes and streams.
- Keep campsites small and discreet.
- Aim to leave your campsite as you found it, or better.
- Respect property. For example, farming or forestry machinery, fences, stone walls etc. Leave gates as you find them (open or closed).
- Preserve the past: examine – without damaging – archaeological structures, old walls and heritage artefacts e.g. holy wells, mine workings, monuments.
- Conserve the present: leave rocks, flowers, plants, animals and all natural habitats as you find them. Fallen trees are a valuable wildlife habitat; do not remove or use for firewood.
- Avoid introducing non-native plants and animals e.g. zebra mussels in rivers and lakes.
- Do not build rock cairns, structures or shelters
- “If You Bring It In, Take It Out” – take home all litter and leftover food (including tea bags, fruit peels and other biodegradable foods).
- To dispose of solid human waste, dig a hole 15-20cms deep and at least 30m from water, campsites and tracks. Cover and disguise the hole when finished.
- Bring home toilet paper and hygiene products.
- Wash yourself or your dishes 30m away from streams or lakes and if necessary use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Bring home any solids and scatter strained dishwater.
- For more information on sanitation in the outdoors read the “Where to go in the outdoors” leaflet
- Fires can cause lasting impacts and be devastating to forests, natural habitats and farmland. Therefore when camping use a lightweight stove for cooking.
- Where fires are permitted: Use established fire rings, barbecues or create a mound fire.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Do not use growing vegetation for use as firewood.
- Avoid burning plastics or other substances: which emit toxic fumes.
- Burn all fires to ash, put out fires completely, and then scatter cool ashes.
Boyne Valley Activities endorses the Leave No Trace message, we aim to adhere to Leave No Trace during all outdoor activities and events and we have incorporated Leave No Trace into our various training schemes.
Because we are and eco tourism company we provide our experiences by leaving minimal impact on our surroundings. Starting from our base in Trim, we encourage our customers to use re-usable/recycled water bottles when they come out with us. We have on site recycling of paper, plastic and glass. We also use our own rainwater harvesting system for the washing of our equipment.
We seldom get onto the water at our premises as we prefer to exit off there as there is a concrete plinth at our slipway that exit there onto a concrete plinth we can use without eroding the bank, especially with bigger groups. We also bus our groups from point A to point B keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum and once we leave our car park, we run all our experiences by the leave no trace principles, all rubbish will be carried back to the premises and disposed of, all equipment will be cleaned and our guides would insist on our participants leaving a minimum impact on our environment.Our impact on wildlife and on biodiversity is quite minimal really. Because our activities and tours all primarily take place on the water and on either rafts or kayaks, both wildlife and biodiversity are barely, if ever, comprised. Obviously both kayaks and rafts are paddle powered and simply glide along the water with no fuels or noise pollutants. We are aware that our main impact would be and is trampling on our entry and egress points along our route as we get our crafts onto the water, but we have many areas that we can use for getting on and off and we rotate on a regular basis so not to corrode a specific area. We stay primarily in the centre of the water course and avoid all reed beds as not to disturb the habitat.We are also quite aware of invasive species and while we primarily use different sections of the same river (The Boyne) we and our staff insist on washing the crafts down if we use different water courses, lakes, sea etc.Leave No Trace Ireland
We are aware of noise pollution with the larger groups on the water and make allowances for our surroundings, with Leave No Trace guidelines in place we try to keep the noise to a minimum and pick specific spots on the route that we know the wildlife won’t be disturbed and allow nature sounds to prevail.
We want to encourage and support the wildlife on our land and in doing so have recently installed some bird boxes at our base in Trim.
We encourage all of our campsite users to respect the surroundings by sticking to the pack it in pack it out policy and leave nothing behind them.
To learn more about the Leave No Trace programme, visit www.leavenotraceireland.org.