The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics™ have partnered to promote a variety of resources, tools, and information which will help park visitors develop an appreciation for open spaces and the beautiful Sonoran Desert.
Leave No Trace provides research, education, and initiatives so every person who ventures outside can protect and enjoy our world responsibly.
Maricopa County's regional parks provide the venues for visitors to enjoy outdoor spaces while also recreating as responsible stewards of the land.
This begins with the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace. The following principles have been adapted for Maricopa County's regional parks:
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Read up on the rules and regulations of the area that you are going, things may have changed since you were there last.
- Be prepared! Remember food and water, and clothes to protect you from the sun, heat, cold, or rain. Having supplies for your day will maximize your comfort and safety, increasing the quality of your experience!
- Use maps to plan where you’re going. Check them along the way so you’ll stay on course and won’t get lost.
- Planning to take your pet on your adventure? Remember, bring along your pet leash and always bring a bag to collect dog waste.
STICK TO TRAILS AND CAMP OVERNIGHT RIGHT
- Walk and ride on designated trails to protect trailside plants. Stepping on flowers, cacti, or small trees damages them and they may not grow back.
- Stick to durable surfaces to avoid picking up invasive plant or animal species "hitchhikers" and spreading them to other areas.
- Respect private property by staying on designated trails.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Where camping is permitted camp only on existing or designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation. Be considerate to other campers around you and leave campsites clean and natural looking.
TRASH YOUR TRASH AND PICK UP POOP
- Pack it in, Pack it out. Put litter–even crumbs, fruit and vegetable peels and cores–in garbage cans or in garbage bags to carry home.
- Use bathrooms or outhouses when available. If not available, bury human waste in a small hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet or 70 big steps away from water.
- Use a plastic bag to pack out used diapers or your pet’s poop to a garbage can.
- Let's work together to protect our water sources. Avoid putting soap, food, and human or pet waste in our in lakes and streams.
LEAVE IT AS YOU FIND IT
- Bring along your camera to take photos instead of taking souvenirs.
- Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others can enjoy them.
- Treat living plants with respect. Carving, hacking or peeling plants may kill them.
BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE
- If you want to have a campfire or use a charcoal grill, be sure it’s permitted and safe to build one in the area you’re visiting. Use only existing fire rings to protect the ground from heat and keep your fire small. *Alternatively use a camp stove for cooking, they create less impact than a campfire.
- Firewood should be bought from a local vendor. Don’t bring firewood from home – it can harbor tree killing insects and diseases. Many states regulate the movement of untreated firewood.
- Burn all wood to ash and be sure the fire is completely out and cold before you leave.
- Remember, a campfire isn’t a garbage can. Pack out all trash and food.
KEEP WILDLIFE WILD
- Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed, take selfies, or follow them. Bring your binoculars.
- Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them starts bad habits.
- Protect wildlife and your food by securely storing your meals and trash.
SHARE OUR TRAILS AND MANAGE YOUR PET
- Be considerate when passing others on the trail.
- Keep your pet under control to protect it, other visitors and wildlife.
- Listen to nature. Avoid making loud noises, loud phone calls, or yelling. You will see more wildlife if you are quiet. Let nature sounds prevail!
- Be sure the fun you have outdoors does not bother anyone else. Remember, other visitors are there to enjoy the outdoors too.