Leave No Trace for Couples & Photographers
And Why It Matters
What is Leave No Trace?
For me, following Leave No Trace (LNT) the best I can is the greatest way that I can protect the outdoors. I can do it every single time I go outside. I can teach it to others and allow them to have the knowledge to care for wild places. LNT ensures that myself, my couples, and the people I love most can get outside!
Leave No Trace isn’t about being perfect. It’s about giving your best to the places we visit and adventure in. LNT is about leaving the places we adventure in better than we found them, doing no harm, and respecting the ecosystem. When we venture out together I hope to teach you at least one new thing regarding Leave No Trace. Allowing you to become a better steward means a lot to me, and when the place you elope in becomes an integral part of your life you will want to protect it.
The 7 Leave No Trace Principles
Plan Ahead and Prepare
This is why I send all my couples a packing list! I want you to be as prepared as possible for your day so you can enjoy it fully with no stress or worry. Whether it’s having a plan B, packing enough snacks, having the right clothes, or knowing the hazards of the area, we will be super prepared for whatever your adventure has in store!
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
This means hiking on trails and on rock rather than running through fields or getting a “better shot” by damaging the landscape.
Moab is home to fragile ecosystems that are sustained with the help of cryptobiotic soil. This black or brown crust can be seen off trail across much of the desert floor. This cryptobiotic soil crust is actually made up of living organisms that fights erosion, allows plants to grow, and retains water and nutrients. Stepping on it causes harm to the plants that rely on the soil and affects the environment as a whole. Don’t bust the crust and stay on trail!
Dispose of Waste Properly
Packing out trash is one way that we can reverse our impact on the outdoors. Your trash doesn’t belong in nature. Heck, it doesn’t belong on the street in your neighborhood either. When you pack out the trash you bring or pick up other people’s trash you do our lands a favor.
Packing out trash even means the flowers that fall off your bouquet! Just because it is biodegradable doesn’t mean it should be left behind.
Leave What You Find
If everyone took rocks, sand, or plants from popular locations there would be nothing left. This is why it’s so important to just enjoy the landscape rather than taking items from it. The photos you get from your day will be full of more memories than a jar of sand ever will!
Minimize Campfire Impacts
We all know that campfires can cause wildfires so it’s super important to properly put out your fires! This also means following fire bans if they are in place. If you opt to end your elopement day around the fire roasting smores, be sure to put the fire all the way out when you are done.
Getting to see wildlife in their home while out adventuring is pretty epic. These animals are incredibly inspiring, and it’s good luck to see them on your wedding day;) While we all love seeing animals from deer to bear, it’s important to keep yourself and them safe by keeping your distance, not feeding them, and treating them with the respect they deserve. After all, we are visiting their home!
Be Considerate of Others
While it’s important to respect the landscape and wildlife while adventuring, we also need to be respectful to each other. This means not hogging a beautiful spot for portraits for too long, not blaring music for all to hear, keeping to your right away on the trail, and overall just being kind. You’ll find other hikers following this as you’ll get a ton of “congratulations!” while hiking in your wedding attire!
Why Should you Leave No Trace on Your Elopement Day?
Leaving No Trace on your elopement day is the least you can do to say thank you to the landscape. Outdoor elopements often allow you to have a beautiful venue for a small fee, allows you to have an epic alternative to a traditional wedding, and allows you to make memories through adventure.
By protecting your ceremony spot you can ensure that you visit it on your 10th and even 30th anniversary.
If you did not know about LNT before that’s ok! I didn’t learn about it until a few years of exploring the outdoors, and I still find new ways to learn and better how I treat the landscape.
Why Should Photographers Leave No Trace?
Photographers are one of the biggest inspirations for people getting outdoors. Our photos often cause people to go to places they never have before. What we post has great potential, and also huge consequences.
If your photo shows subjects off trail or picking flowers, other people will think that it is ok to do that. What we showcase makes an impact. Let’s make it a positive one.
Geotagging has also become an important LNT topic. I believe that the best practice is to tag the area you are in, and not the very specific location the photo was taken. For example, I tend to geotag the state, the mountain range, or the park instead of an exact location. This gives people an idea of where they can find that gem, but leads them to do a little work to find it. They may gain some insight and respect for the area along the way.
We can also be ambassadors for the land by teaching others about Leave No Trace! I hope this has inspired you to be a better steward for our planet and its incredible landscapes.
Ready to Elope?
I can’t wait to help you plan your adventurous wedding day. Let’s take your love on a wild adventure!