Leave No Trace

in the


National Forest

Would you like to know how to Leave No Trace in the Shawnee National Forest?

Leave No Trace is an excellent practice to follow. This is especially true and important in fragile areas. One of the biggest problems in Shawnee is litter. There is a significant litter problem. Of all the Leave No Trace issues, that is the most prominent one.

Everyone reading this is likely not one who litters. I doubt my audience does something as cruel to nature as that.

So, I’m not making this article about litter. I’m just touching base on what you can do to Leave No Trace in the Shawnee National Forest.

Just follow the seven principles.

The Leave No Trace 7 Principles


1 – Plan ahead and prepare before entering the Shawnee National Forest. If you have a plan to enjoy the outdoors, you can reduce damage and keep yourself safe. Safety should always take priority over anything else.

2 – Hike and camp on durable surfaces when visiting the Shawnee National Forest. You should remain on the trail, especially when signage requests it. You should be camping in designated or common camp spots in the wilderness.

3 – Pack it in and pack it out when visiting the Shawnee National Forest. There is no trash service in the forest. Volunteers pick up litter and risk their safety while doing it. Please leave the Shawnee National Forest better than you found it.

Leave No Trace in the Shawnee National Forest

4 – Let nature be nature by not disturbing things. Don’t stack rocks – they can damage the ecosystems of critters who depend on the forest to live. Don’t move a log looking for a snake and not put it back. Don’t pull native plants or mushrooms unless you’re foraging them for food.

5 – Be environmental with your fire when camping. It’s okay to have a fire if it’s okay to have a fire. However, you should never burn during dry, windy weather or if there has been a drought. Ensure the fire is out and cold to touch before leaving it. Only you can prevent wildfires.

6 – Respect wildlife when you’re out in nature. Don’t collect, harm, harass, or block the egress of wildlife. They’re not in your home. You’re in their home. If we harass them in their own home, eventually, they’ll migrate to our homes.

7 – Think of other forest users when you’re using it. Think about their enjoyment. Think about their safety. Everyone should always yield to horseback riders to ensure the rider’s and your own safety. Don’t do things that will negatively impact another person’s ability to enjoy the forest as much as you would.


Leave No Trace is easy to accomplish in the Shawnee National Forest. The most important thing is not to litter. Please do your part in ensuring everyone can enjoy the nature that Southern Illinois has to offer. If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to see more, subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

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Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!

Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman

Founder, Hiking with Shawn

Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman

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