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“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.”


Cherish the natural world? Protect it.

We live in an unprecedented era where conservation is second to personal promotion. We no longer think about protecting delicate geological wonders and instead think first about how we can exploit these treasures for personal gain on social media. Now more than ever, we need to rise up to the challenge of preservation and the safeguarding of our planet. The purpose of this page is to educate and raise awareness through principles of responsible stewardship for our public lands. 

Contributing factors to environmental destruction

  • Over-promotion of National and State parks by tourism and travel companies

  • High growth of social media and geotagging locations 

  • Increased popularity of photography with the rise of smartphones 

  • Absence of basic and essential wilderness etiquette education 

  • Decreased respect for uncultivated regions and lack of stewardship principles

All of these factors, as well as others, have contributed to the destruction (sometimes irreversible) of our public and private lands. Careless actions have led to closures and increased restrictions. We all should be committed to encouraging and promoting better wilderness ethics for a positive future. 


Resources and Education

Several organizations are working towards the preservation of our public lands through education, thoughtful principles, and spreading awareness. These are just a few:


Educate yourself on the following principles and help spread awareness threw your networks.

Nature First Principles

For a full description of principles, please visit the Nature First Photography website.


Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography

We are visitors in wild places with delicate ecosystems, and as such should never cause harm. We should minimize our impact, preserve, and protect.


Educate yourself about the places you photograph

Different landscapes require different kinds of stewardship practices. Gain knowledge before visiting in order to effectively care for these places.


Reflect on the possible impact of your actions

Seemingly harmless actions may have significant consequences. Actions lead other visitors to follow yours, multiplying the repercussions and scarring the landscape. Also, consider how your behavior affects the experience of other users of natural places.


Use discretion if sharing locations

As soon as a place is determined photogenic, it becomes a magnet for people to replicate. Many places cannot survive the increase in visitation. Keeping them off the radar is the best way to protect them. Only share the locations of well-known areas which are unlikely to be damaged by increased visitation. Consider not posting photos of sensitive areas online at all.


Know and follow rules and regulations

Iresponsable actions that break local rules increases negative consequences for the land and community. Photographers assume that they are the only person going into a closed area and thus leaves minimal impact. On the flip side, others think that since others have visited a particular spot, it’s ok for them to do so as well. 


Always follow LNT principles and strive to leave places better than you found them

Follow the widely recognized set of Leave No Trace principles for outdoor stewardship, and take it further by actively participating in cleanups and reporting vandalism.


Actively promote and educate others about these principles

When sharing photos or stories about your travels, influence others to be good stewards of our public lands by amplifying these messages through using appropriate ways to discouraging actions that are in opposition to these principles.

Leave No Trace Principles

For a full description of principles, please visit the Leave No Trace website.


Plan Ahead and Prepare

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Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces

The goal of travel in the outdoors is to move through natural areas while avoiding damage to the land or waterways. Understanding how travel causes impacts is necessary to accomplish this goal. Travel damage occurs when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are trampled beyond recovery. The resulting barren area leads to soil erosion and the development of undesirable trails.


Dispose of Waste Properly

The Center encourages outdoor enthusiasts to consider the impacts that they leave behind, which will undoubtedly affect other people, water and wildlife. “Pack it in, Pack it out” is a familiar mantra to seasoned wildland visitors. Any user of recreation lands has a responsibility to clean up before he or she leaves.


Leave What You Find

Allow others a sense of discovery by leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them. Minimize Site Alterations. Avoid Damaging Live Trees and Plants. Leave Natural Objects and Cultural Artifacts.


Minimize Campfire Impacts

Fires vs. Stoves: The use of campfires, once a necessity for cooking and warmth, is steeped in history and tradition. Yet, the natural appearance of many areas has been degraded by the overuse of fires and an increasing demand for firewood. The development of lightweight efficient camp stoves has encouraged a shift away from the traditional fire for cooking.


Respect Wildlife

Learn about wildlife through quiet observation. Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a “better look.” Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. Travel quietly and do not pursue, feed or force animals to flee. Do not touch, get close to, feed or pick up wild animals.


Be Considerate of Other Visitors

One of the most important components of outdoor ethics is to maintain courtesy toward other visitors. Many people come to the outdoors to listen to nature. Excessive noise, uncontrolled pets and damaged surroundings take away from the natural appeal of the outdoors.

Alcove arch in Utah desert



We are all needed to preserve the last remaining wild places.

Our adoration for nature can make a difference if we stand together.

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