Leave No Trace

Gulf of Maine Expedition's Leave No Trace Policy

(see Living with Leave No Trace in our Expedition Journals section, too)

The Gulf of Maine Expedition's mission includes promoting sea kayak safety and stewardship. To that end, for the entire length of the journey and beyond, we are dedicated to adhering to principles of Leave No Trace. We will also be teaching these principles to as many people as possible during the course of the journey, including giving LNT-for-sea-kayakers workshops in many of the communities we visit.

The six principles below have been approved and is being promoted by both the Maine Island Trail Association and the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors. Both Associations are sponsors of the Gulf of Maine Expedition.

Leave No Trace

Plan ahead and prepare
* Know the island regulations and guidelines for the area you plan to visit (including capacity limits) and land only where you have permission.
* Consider shoreside campgrounds or bed & breakfasts as overnight options.
* Keep your group size as small as possible; six or fewer is ideal.

Travel and camp on durable surfaces
* Travel on sand, stone, resilient grass, and established trails.
* Locate kitchens on the beach, on granite, or in the intertidal zone.
* Camp only in established campsites. If the campsites are already in use, squeeze into an existing site or bivouac on smooth granite, sand, or gravel.
* Limit your stay to two nights. Naturalize the site when you leave.
* Do not cut or clear vegetation, dead or alive, for any purpose.

Dispose of waste properly
* Carry out all solid human waste and toilet paper to the mainland for proper disposal. (See www.mita.org for carry-off techniques and pumpout stations.) In the image to the right, we are busy cleaning out our groover at a stop along Cape Cod, a human waste pack out system provided by our sponsor Eco-safe. It is a great, simple, easy, and clean system!
* Carry out all trash-your own and any that you find.

Minimize campfire impacts-kindle no fires
* Fires on islands are dangerous; MITA requests no open fires.
* Use cookstoves below the high tide line.
* The Maine Forest Service allows fires in designated fire rings; contact the service for a permit.
* If you must build a fire, use a fire pan below the high tide line to prevent fire scars. Burn only driftwood and keep fires small and safe.

Respect wildlife
* Enjoy wildlife from a distance; give wide berth to nesting seabirds, eagles, ospreys, rafting eiders, and seals.
* Please leave pets at home.

Be considerate of others
* Help protect the experience of all visitors by developing an ethic of sharing. Preserve the peace and quiet on the island.
* Be considerate of others who live and work in the area.

For more information about low-impact practices, contact the Maine Island Trail Association (www.mita.org).