My Next Guest Needs No Introduction: Ellen Tee!

Mar 13, 2024 | Dom Pautler

Ellen Tee is someone who I’ve known and admired for years now, and I’m happy to pass on all the wisdom that she has shared with me. If you have ever planned a trip, completed a school project, or just tried keep your room or house in decent order then you know how important good organization, planning and execution are. Those are some of the skills that Ellen Tee, otherwise known as L.N.T., and formally known as Leave No Trace, teaches us.

There are seven principles of L.N.T. and whether in your backyard, at the local park, or deep in the backcountry, these principles help to preserve the beautiful places we love and to practice good stewardship to the natural world and our neighbors. Let’s jump right in and hear from Ellen!

  1. Plan ahead and prepare!
    • Bringing proper clothing, food, water, equipment, and more will help you to enjoy wherever you are and also keep you out of dangerous situations. Remember the six P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
    • Remember to take into consideration the environment you’re in. If you’re at the park then running all over the grass is probably just fine, but if you’re at Daffodil Flats in Linville Gorge, NC then you might want to watch your step and stay on trail to preserve the beautiful flowers.
  3. Dispose of waste properly.
    • If you pack it in, pack it out! This includes fruit peels and cores so that we don’t habituate animals to food that’s not native to them. It’s always great to have a small trash bag on you to collect your own trash and be a good steward and help pick up others people trash they may have forgotten. For bathroom protocols in a wilderness setting, make sure to research the area you’re in as rules and regulations change place to place.
  4. Leave what you find.
    • It may be tempting to take a fascinating artifact you find or build a large rock cairn in the creek, but it’s important to leave the wilderness in the way we found it (or better) so that others can come enjoy the beauties we’re seeing too. Leaving what you find also helps to prevent the spread of non-native species.
  5. Minimize campfire impact.
    • When in the backcountry and planning to warmup around a fire make sure to take your time and think out your plan. Think about where the closest water is, your environment, appropriate size and other factors. Try to use established fire rings or spread the ash after your fire and restore the area to its original state. When looking for fuel, remember to use sticks that are dead, down and dry.
  6. Respect Wildlife.
    • Remember to keep your distance from wild animals. As much as you might want to feed that cute, cuddly looking squirrel, remember that often times feeding animals is a death sentence for them. Not only is it for their safety to view animals from a distance, but also for yours. Some animals may be more aggressive during mating, nesting, winter, or with their young.
  7. Be considerate of others.
    • Always be mindful that you are not the only one enjoying these spaces. Remember to be kind, share the trail and let nature be the star. Maybe leave the speaker at home on your next outing and use all your senses to enjoy the beauty nature has to offer.

Thanks for tagging along and listening to some words of wisdom from Ellen Tee. Remember to practice these principles on your next trip!