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Leave No Trace

Winter Tips for Protecting the Outdoors

The New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism Development has parternered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to promote sustainable tourism practices and provide visitors and residents with the proper knowledge to protect New Hampshire's spectacular natural landsapes and destinations. Please take a moment to review the tips below to help us protect the great outdoors. 

Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Winter in New Hampshire is unpredictable. Be prepared for extreme conditions, the weather in the mountains can change in an instant. Bring extra food, water, and clothes, just in case you run into trouble.
  • Trail markers and water hazards are often hidden during the winter; keep a map and compass handy and know how to use them in case of an emergency.
  • Don’t get caught in the dark. The days are much shorter here during winter. Check the time of sunset before you go. Bring a headlamp along just in case.
  • Don’t rely on your phone. Battery power runs out quickly in the cold. Keep your phone handy and with extra charging capability, just in case you need it.
  • Know before you go. Whether you’re headed out for a short winter hike or traversing the backcountry:
    • ALWAYS check avalanche and weather reports before leaving. The Mount Washington Avalanche Center (MWAS) has the latest backcountry conditions and regularly issues avalanche forecasts, which include safety information and high danger areas. Monitor snow conditions.  Carry and use an avalanche beacon, probe and shovel. Know how to use them. These are other resources that can help you when visiting the backcountry.
  • Never go alone. Visit the backcountry in small groups and leave your itinerary with family or friends.

Trash Your Trash
  • Pack It In, Pack It Out. It’s that simple. Do your part to keep New Hampshire beautiful by packing out what you bring in.  This means, all trash, littler and garbage including food, should be disposed of when you get home. A reminder human waste should be packed out too. This video shows you the safe way to do so.
  • If you’re four-legged friend is traveling with you, be sure to pack their waste out too.  

Be Careful with Campfires
  • Use a camp stove for cooking. Stoves are easier to cook on and create less impact than a campfire, especially in the backcountry.
  • If you’re planning a campfire, make sure it’s allowed in the area you’re visiting. Fires should be small and use existing fire rings to prevent the fires from unintentionally spreading.
  • Don’t burn your garbage.  Burning trash releases carcinogens like lead and acrolein into the air that are harmful to breathe. Pack out all trash and food.
  • Buy firewood locally or gather it on site if allowed. New Hampshire has a ban on out-of-state firewood to help protect our trees from insects and disease.
  • Make sure your fire is out before you leave.

Keep NH’s Wildlife Wild
  • New Hampshire is home to an abundance of wild animals. We can all help to keep them wild.  
  • Watch from a distance.  You may be lucky enough to spot one of our resident moose or black bears. If you do, enjoy them from afar. Don’t approach or feed them.  
  • New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department is a great resource to learn about safely and respectfully interacting with our wildlife.

Stick to the Trails and Camp Overnight Right
  • Stay on deep snow cover whenever possible. Walk in the middle of the trail to avoid making new trails and damaging plants along the sides of the trail.
  • Travel and camp away from avalanche paths, cornices, steep slopes and unstable snow.
When camping:
  • Camp at a safe, stable site out of view of heavily-traveled routes and trails.
  • Camp on surfaces such as snow, rock or mineral soil and avoid tundra and fragile vegetation.
  • Camp at least 200 feet or 70 adult steps away from lakes and streams so to help keep water sources clean.

Share the Outdoors
  • One of the best ways to recharge is by getting outside and exploring nature in New Hampshire. With so many people turning to nature these days, you’re likely to be sharing the trail.
  • Remember to be considerate when passing others.
  • Move off the trail to a durable area of the ground if you’re stopping for a break.
  • Please keep your pet leashed and under control for everyone’s protection.
  • Keep ski and snowshoe tracks separate whenever possible and avoid hiking on them.
  • Respect each other; we’re all in this together.
©Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics