Have You Ever Heard of LNT?

By Alex Greco

In my last blog post I wrote about the environmental impacts of mountain biking and the importance of outdoor recreation and environmental conservation. I did not mention the specific actions that you can take as a mountain biker to protect and conserve your trails. Individual actions go a long way.

Every time you hit the trails remember the leave no trace principles. The leave no trace principles are a set of guidelines in the outdoors that help preserve the places we recreate in.  For mountain biking there are six principles to follow:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
    -Avoid times of high use and plan rides with smaller groups
    -Check with local bike shops, local cycling groups, and websites for updates on trail conditions and information

  • Travel on Durable Surfaces
    -Respect trail closures
    -Avoiding skidding and riding in wet conditions, this erodes and widens the trail
    -Stay on established trails

  • Dispose of Waste Properly
    -Pack it in, pack it out
    -If you see waste on the trail pick it up

-Keep one pocket in your pack for food and wrappers, and keep it zipped

-Try to use the bathroom before you ride

  • Leave What You Find

-Leave only tread marks and take only pictures
-Leave plants, rocks, and other natural objects in the forest. This is an important LNT principle because we want to preserve the past and limit human interference on these fragile lands

  • Respect Wildlife
    -Observe wildlife from a distance and try not to approach
    -Don’t feed wildlife
    -Control your dos. Dogs are awesome, although they are fun riding partners they can potentially impact wildlife

  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors
    -Be aware of areas where hikers and equestrians are allowed
    -Be considerate to everyone on the trail, yield when necessary
    -When riding in groups make sure to keep your volume low, hooting and hollering is fine and fun, but try and respect other riders on trail.

Another popular set of guidelines was established by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Although this list is similar to the LNT principles above, it’s good to have multiple options. Here are the IMBA guidelines:

  • Respect the Landscape
  • Share the Trail
  • Ride Open and Legal Trails
  • Ride in Control
  • Plan Ahead
  • Mind the Animals


Benjamin Voros@vorosbenisopBenjamin

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