Leave No Trace in the Squam Lakes Watershed

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the area and what to expect
    • Monitor the weather on the days leading up to your excursion
    • Prepare a backup hike or excursion in case the parking lot is full or the weather becomes treacherous 
  • Select appropriate equipment


Leave What You Find

  • Minimize shoreline and campsite alteration
  • Avoid damaging live plants and tree


Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Camp only at designated SLA campsites
  • Always stay on the trails to minimize impact on surrounding plants and wildlife and reduce erosion
  • Concentrate impact on durable surfaces by hiking and camping on rock, sand, or gravel


Respect Wildlife

  • Enjoy wildlife at a distance - at least 150 feet
    • Crowding wildlife can interfere with mating, rearing of young, and eating/sleeping patterns
  • Avoid sensitive habitat areas
    • Summits frequently have fragile ecosystems with rare plant-life, please remain on durable surfaces when traversing in higher-elevation zones
  • Consider leaving your pets at home
    • Domesticated animals leave a significant trace when roaming around the woods, thus disrupting wildlife behavior
    • If you do recreate with your pet, please keep your pet leashed or under voice control


Properly Dispose of Waste

  • Carry-In, Carry-Out
    • Maintain natural areas by taking all personal trash, including biodegradable foods, with you when you leave
  • Have a plan for using the bathroom
    • Toilets are provided on Moon Island, Bowman Island, Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest, and at the West Rattlesnake Trailhead
    • Bring a small trowel when you hike so you can dig a 6-8 inch hole for human waste, cover your waste when you are done. Make sure you are 200 feet or further from a water source.
    • Bring a bag to pick up your waste, carry it out, and dispose of it properly in the front-country
  • Carry all pet waste out with you and dispose of it properly in the front-country
    • Dog waste poses a health hazard and pollutes surface water and groundwater


Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Let nature's sound prevail
    • Playing audible music disrupts wildlife and the experience of other recreators
  • Only hike or land at public conservation areas
  • Keep your group size small


Minimize Impact of Campfires

  • Please use firewood provided 
    • Transported firewood can introduce exotic beetles and other harmful pests)
  • Never leave a campfire unattended
  • Bring a campstove for cooking