How often during a hike have you stumbled upon littered, trampled areas marred by blackened fire spots from previous visitors, rather than the picturesque campsite you envisioned? Or encountered natural landfills while trekking to your desired peak?
Our impact on nature directly shapes its state. The present situation didn't emerge overnight—it all began with a single candy wrapper, cigarette butt, or discarded bottle. But how can we, as tourists, make a difference?
This scenario isn't unique to Ukraine; solutions exist. Twenty-five years ago, America introduced the Leave No Trace philosophy to instill respect for nature among outdoor enthusiasts. These principles have been adapted by IDLO to suit Ukrainian landscapes.

Principle 1: Plan and prepare for your trip in advance

  • Analyze weather forecasts and prepare equipment and clothes for changing conditions, danger or emergencies.
  • Familiarize yourself with territory restrictions (passes to border zones, fire options, special periods, etc.).
  • Plan your route meticulously, using maps, GPS and the latest updates on possible reroutes from fellow tourists.
  • Share your itinerary and expected return with family.
  • Assess group members' experience and fitness levels.
  • Opt for less crowded travel periods and small group sizes of 6-8 people.
  • Plan a menu to reduce waste and weight, considering dried or freeze-dried foods.

Principle 2: Move along the route and park on hard surfaces

  • Follow established trails whenever possible.
  • Allocate time to find appropriate campsites at day's end.
  • Utilize existing campsites and avoid expanding camping spaces.
  • Set camp 30-50 meters away from water sources to preserve accessibility and habitat.
  • Leave your campsite as or better than you found it.

Principle 3: Dispose of waste properly

  • Carry out all your waste, including possibly any pre-existing garbage.
  • Use a metal scoop for a small hole when nature calls.
  • Opt for biodegradable toilet paper or wipes.
  • Bury human waste and biodegradable materials at least 15-20 centimeters deep 50 meters away from water sources, trails and camping sites.
  • Prefer biodegradable soap and shampoo.


Principle 4: Leave everything you find in place

  • Preserve the natural state of the environment.
  • Avoid altering or removing plants, stones and other natural objects.
  • Do not damage/alter/remove cultural or historical buildings.
  • Avoid digging around tents and constructing furniture.
  • Do not build tables or chairs. If you do, disassemble everything and leave the site as you found it.
  • Do not scribble anything like "Petro loves Katrya" on tree trunks and stones.


Principle 5: Minimize the impact of fire

  • Use burners and flashlights for cooking and lighting.
  • Although the use of fires is historic and traditional, it often causes great damage. So, be careful not to cause destructive burning and correctly assess the risks (air temperature, humidity, wind strength and direction).
  • Use existing fire pits where possible and smaller-sized fires.
  • Collect only dead or dry wood which you can break with your hands for fires. Dry, unbroken trees can be home to birds and animals.
  • Do not make a fire under low-hanging trees or in tree hollows.
  • Do not leave the fire unattended, burn the fire to ashes, extinguish the fire completely (preferably with water).


Principle 6: Respect wildlife

  • Observe animals from a distance without disturbing them.
  • Refrain from feeding wildlife as this may affect their health and even survival.
  • Watch your pet if it accompanies you on your travel, or else leave it at home.
  • Be cautious around animals during mating or nurturing seasons.


Principle 7: Respect other tourist

  • Respect and greet fellow travelers and yield on trails, especially while ascending.
  • Maintain respect for others' vacation experience.
  • Choose camp spots away from trails and other tourists' sites.
  • Minimize noise disturbance to allow others to enjoy nature's sounds.

We believe that it is up to each of us to shape the nature of our country and what we will leave to our descendants. Every significant change starts with a small step. Embrace these principles, for it's our actions that will leave an enduring impact on our country's nature.
Discover more about our corresponding eco-program >>>