Leash dogs and stay on the trail to leave no trace in Bend, OR

Leave No Trace — Bend, Oregon

Leave No Trace

By following the principles of Leave No Trace, we work together to protect our forests, deserts, rivers, streams, mountains, and wildlife from human impact.

These seven principles of Leave No Trace provide an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. Leave No Trace can be applied anywhere, from remote wilderness areas to local parks.

Know before you go

  • Parking lots can fill up fast. Avoid the crowds by visiting early or late in the day, or on weekdays. Have a backup destination in case the parking lot is full.
  • Learn about the areas you plan to visit. Check online to see if permits are required and if trash cans, bathrooms, and water are available on site.
  • Check trail and weather conditions, understand the terrain, and dress appropriately. Weather can change quickly, so pack extra layers, including a rain jacket and a headlamp, no matter the time of year.
  • Before heading to the trailhead, confirm there are no trail closures that could impact your planned route; closures change frequently and can be day-of-the-week specific.
  • Cell service may be limited.Share your planned route and schedule with a friend, and bring a map or a GPS device to use along the way.
  • Confirm that pets are allowed in the area you are visiting and that your pup remains on leash if required.
  • When cutting firewood or a Christmas tree, be sure to have the required permit.

Camp responsibly

  • When camping in developed campsites, make a reservation where required, and only camp in designated sites. Have a backup plan if sites are not available.
  • When camping in areas without designated sites, allow plenty of daylight to locate a spot and set up camp at least 70 big steps from water. Avoid unwanted animal visitors by washing your dishes away from camp, and securing your food before crawling into your sleeping bag.
  • Check fire restrictions before heading out and remember campfires are prohibited in many high-use areas, both above and below tree line.

Pack it out

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Put litter, even crumbs, peels, and cores, into garbage bags or plastic containers and carry it out. Trash and food waste takes years to decompose, disrupts the experiences of others, and is unhealthy for wildlife.
  • Go #2 before you head to the trailhead. If you still have to go while on public land, use developed bathrooms whenever possible. If no restroom is available, poop in a hole 6-8 inches deep and 70 big steps from water, then bury it! Pack out your used TP in a sealable garbage or Ziploc bag.
  • The gold standard for disposing of human waste in the backcountry is a waste pack out system called a WAG (Waste Alleviation Gel) bag. Before your trip into the backcountry, take time to learn how to use a WAG bag and where you can dispose of them once your trip is complete.
  • No matter where the trail takes you and your pets, be sure to pick up and pack out your pet’s poop. Deposit the poop bag in a designated trash can and don’t leave it beside the trail.
  • Desert environments east of Bend can be very fragile. Keep pets on the trail to eliminate your need to cross these sensitive areas when picking up after your pet.

Leave it as you find it

  • Leave plants, trees, rocks, and historical items as you find them.
  • Stick to trails on the map, and avoid using non-system trails, or making your own.
  • In areas that allow campfires, do not cut trees, branches, snags, or boughs. Use dead and down wood that is wrist size or smaller if you need a campfire.
  • Remember you are visiting the home of wildlife. Do not disturb, disrupt, or approach wildlife or their dens or resting places.
  • Avoid transporting invasive species by cleaning, draining, and drying all boats and paddleboards, as well as cleaning shoes, tires, and camping equipment before and after every outing.
  • Before leaving your campsite, have a detailed look around. Be sure not to leave anything behind.
  • If you plan to hang a hammock, select trees 6-20 inches wide and use nylon webbing with a minimum of 1 inch in width to minimize the impact on trees.

Be fire informed

  • Consider skipping the campfire to enjoy the night sky in full darkness. You’ll see the stars like never before.
  • Before building a campfire, confirm there are no fire restrictions and conditions are safe.
  • Campfires must be built at least 100 feet from water sources and trails when in a Wilderness area.
  • If you can have a campfire, use only existing fire rings, keep your fire small, and never leave it unattended.
  • Buy firewood locally or gather only dead or downed wood that is on the ground. This helps to avoid introducing invasive insects.
  • Before you head to bed or leave your fire ring, burn all wood to ash and douse it with 3-4 gallons of water until the ashes are cool to the touch.
  • Use a camp stove when cooking. Camp stoves are easier to cook on, have less environmental impact, and reduce the risk of wildfire.

Keep wildlife wild

  • Protect yourself and wildlife by observing them from a distance. While wildlife may not seem bothered, the presence of humans may be stressful, causing them to flee, defend themselves, or even abandon their young.
  • Never feed wild animals, including birds, and always store food and trash securely. Human food is unhealthy for wildlife and access to it can cause them to become a nuisance, turn dangerous, or even be euthanized.
  • Keep your pets leashed around wildlife; protecting both the wildlife and your pet from being chased, injured, stressed or killed.

Stick to the trail & respect other users

  • Walk, run, hike, and ride only on designated trails to protect our high desert ecosystem and be mindful of private property.
  • Abide by all trail closures for your safety and the protection of wildlife and fragile ecosystems.
  • Access lakes, rivers, and other waterways by staying on developed paths and trails and using designated access points.
  • Slow down, smile, say hello, and be considerate when passing others on the trail.
  • Horses and adaptive users always have right-of-way, followed by pedestrians and those moving uphill. Always yield without stepping too far off the trail.
  • Many people spend time outdoors to enjoy solitude or the quiet of nature. If listening to music is part of your experience outside, listen with only one earbud.That way you can be respectful of everyone’s experience and be aware of your surroundings.
  • When enjoying the trails with your pets, follow leash regulations and clean up after them. Keep your pet under control, not letting them approach wildlife, other people, or dogs without permission.

Take The Bend Pledge & Leave No Trace

Help Leave Bend Better Than You Found It

Bring your best self to Central Oregon, and take care of the places that take care of us.

Bend is a special place. By doing your part as a responsible visitor and taking The Bend Pledge, you can help to ensure Bend stays special for years to come. Once you’ve taken the pledge, share it with your friends. You will score some sweet Leave No Trace stickers and will be entered to win a trip to Bend!

Take the Bend Pledge
Take the Bend Pledge when you visit Bend, Ooregon.