Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
Male dall sheep rests on a ridgeline with mountains in the background
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Tread Lightly

Treading lightly on the land is an important skill to help keep nature in great shape. It's also an easy way to help protect it for the next generation. Help keep the area you are using in good condition for the people that use it after you.

Whether it's hunting, mountain bike riding, or just hiking outdoors, there is something you can do to tread lightly.


Travel Responsibly on land by staying on designated roads, trails and area. Go over, not around, obstacles to avoid widening the trails. Cross streams only at designated fords. when possible, avoid wet, muddy trails. On water, stay on designated waterways and launch your watercraft in designated areas.

Respect the Rights of Others including private property owners, all recreational trail users, campers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undsiturbed. Leave gates as you found them. Yield rightof way to those passing your or going uphill. On water, respect anglers, swimmers, skiers, boaters, divers and those on or near shore.

Educate Yourself prior to your trip by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies. Plan for your trip, take recreation skills classes and know how to operate your equipment safely.

Avoid Sensitive Areas on land such as meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams. Stay on designated routes. This protects wildlife habitats and sensitive soils from damage. Don’t disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites. On water, avoid operating your watercraft in shallow waters or near shorelines at high speeds.

Do Your Part by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species and repairing degraded areas.

A hiker climbs up a set of stairs made with logs in the middle of an old growth forest.

Some Tread Lightly! Tips 

  • Stay on designated trails--taking shortcuts can harm wildlife.
  • Travel only on areas open to your type of vehicle, and the type of recreation you're pursuing.
  • Cross streams as designated crossing points.
  • Comply with all signage.
  • Avoid sensitive areas--whether that be due to inadequate snow covering if you're snow machining or skiing, or whether the ecosystem in that area is especially sensitive.
  • Ask landowners before you enter private property.
  • Avoid building fires. If you do build a fire, use a fire pan.
  • Use existing campsites.
  • Pack in what you pack out--Don't burn or bury trash.
  • Be respectful of others enjoying the same space.
  • Keep dogs on leashes.
  • Tell someone about your travel plans.
  • Dress in layers.
  • Know about the laws and regulations.
  • Be well informed about your trip. Make sure you have maps, a compass, and proper gear before going.
  • Check the weather forecast and avalanche conditions before heading out.
  • Be prepared for any emergencies--always take a first aid kit and extra food along with you.
  • Know how to treat hypothermia.
  • Avoid spooking animals.
  • Remember that motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited in reserved wilderness areas. 
  • If planning an outdoor trip in the winter, take an avalanche safety course.
  • Practice Leave No Trace etiquette.

A cartoon of a gray squirrel wearing a while t-shirt with the words "Tread Lightly" on the front.
Lightfoot, the Tread Lightly! mascot
The Tread Lightly! program originated as a program for the US Forest Service in the mid 1980's. The goal was to encourage outdoor recreation while minimally impacting private and public lands. Tread Lightly! became a non-profit organization in 1990. Tread Lightly!'s main goal is to promote the responsible use of recreational vehicles such as snow mobiles. Tread Lightly! develops and distributes educational programs, and works with media, outdoor recreation suppliers to get their message across.

Want to tread lightly?

Travel responsibly
Respect the rights of others
ducate yourself, plan and prepare before you go
Avoid sensitive areas
o your part

Bear tracks
DNR Maryland
Black bear tracks
Want to become involved in Tread Lightly!? Contact:

298 24th Street, Suite 325
Ogden, UT 84401
Fax: 1-801-627-0077

The tread lightly! logo-The words "treadlightly! ON LAND AND WATER" next to a big thumb print.
Tread Lightly! logo
We can all do our part to Tread Lightly

Image of an informational bulletin board at Bird Creek Campground. A gravel road runs behind the kiosk. Spruce trees and a rustic restroom are in the background. Did You Know?
Alaskans love the outdoors! The Alaska Department of Natural Resources oversees and maintains 161 trails, trailheads, campgrounds, recreation areas, historic parks, marine parks, and special management areas.