The Leave No Trace Campaign – Are you in?

As lockdown eased, the photos of dirty camping emerging on social media increased. You’ll probably know exactly what I mean; abandoned tents and chairs, fire scars, damaged live trees and litter strewn all over the place. It’s a depressing sight, seeing beauty spots being trashed and I always feel helpless and a rant on social media certainly eases the frustration slightly. But ranting alone won’t help, as you’re mostly preaching to the converted.

Dirty camping (an abandoned camp)

This isn’t a new problem of course; the easing of lockdown has only exacerbated the issue and I don’t want to labour on what the cause or the cure might be, instead I want to get everybody on board to not only leave no trace, but to promote the ethos too.

Social media has a large part to play, locations become popular through social media, so if you’re promoting wild camping and hiking on your Instagram account or YouTube channel then I believe you have a responsibly to promote the leave no trace message in your content.

Many people are already spreading the message. So, what should you do to get on board?


If you’re a regular on Instagram, put something in your stories and feed about carrying out your rubbish and or picking up litter. You could include a picture of your pitch afterwards with just flat grass. Use the hashtag #LeaveNoTrace in your content too.


Similar to Instagram, mention in your films that you’re carrying out your rubbish and leaving no trace, encourage litter picking. I always show my clean and tidy pitch just before leaving. Your viewers will have more respect for you and any newbies that have stumbled across your channel will hopefully see that leave no trace is the norm and the right thing to do.


If you post content on your own timeline or dedicated Facebook outdoors groups then mention leave no trace and even encourage litter picking too.

Facebook Admins (Group owners):

If you run a Facebook Group then I believe you also have a responsibility to ensure your members sign up to the leaving no trace ethos. To do this, include in your group rules, that members should leave no trace and any content posted that suggests otherwise will be deleted and the member banned.

Consider not allowing pictures of campfires too. Many other groups already do this.  

Twitter and other platforms:

Same as above, spread the message and use the hashtag #LeaveNoTrace.

Showcasing a leave no trace pitch before heading off.


We might not make a huge difference straight away by doing this, but education is key and if everybody who shares content of the great outdoors gets involved, then maybe… just maybe the message will be loud and clear. So come on, become a Leave No Trace Ambassador!



6 thoughts on “The Leave No Trace Campaign – Are you in?

  1. Paul Webster

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the mass sharing of “look at these idiots” posts on social media really is counter-productive. It’s creating a divide where what is needed is for people to learn responsible behaviour

    Some people may see these absolute worst case pics and think – “well, I didn’t leave that much crap behind like so many do, so the little bit I left is completely ok. ” What if these sorts of posts are normalising leaving litter?

    I think a more productive approach would be a mass sharing of pictures of the most responsible wild camping – and photos showing no trace left. That invites us all to emulate responsible behaviour, rather than branding between idiots and good people. The problem is, no-one thinks they are the idiot.

    1. I tend to agree to be honest, these people will lurk on social media and see their mess or know they’ve done similar and being called all the names under the sun.
      I’m hoping my article will encourage more people to share pics and videos of how it’s done. A more positive approach as you touch on.

  2. Hi Robin. I have been in touch with MCM Outdoors, Londoner Outdoors, and he is thus in touch with Grays Outdoors. I am still a young and green YT channel but I have this grand idea. I love this post and couldn’t find another way to contact you via email.

    The idea is for us YT outdoor channels to put our money where our mouths are and to get out there and do a massive YTer clean-up of our favorite local places, and encouraging our subscribers to join in and be part of it, and share their pictures of their clean ups which we can then share on our videos.

    Would love to chat with you about this so please get in touch. As you said…we have a responsibility to make this bigger and show others how it should be done: and on YouTube: Wilderhope Adventures

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