Leave No Trace
People have a variety of reasons for visiting Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, but the one thing we all share is a responsibility to keep this unspoiled wilderness area just that — unspoiled. Whether you are backpacking, day hiking, or staying at a rustic cabin, please follow these guidelines to reduce the impact of your visit and help preserve this unique, unspoiled area we affectionately call the Porkies.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you are planning to visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies.
- If you can, schedule your trip to avoid times of high use such as July, August and September.
- We encourage you to visit in small groups. Maximum group size is 12. Split large parties into groups of 4-6 to reduce your impact.
- Repackage food to minimize waste and weight. Pack light since most wilderness campsites or rustic cabins require a hike of a mile or more.
- Only foot traffic is allowed except adaptive wheeled devices for people with limited mobility. Call ahead 906-885-5275.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, blazes, rock cairns or flagging.
Stay on Durable Surfaces
Always travel and camp on durable surfaces. Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. You are encouraged to camp at designated campsites.
In Popular Areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy so you donʼt widen the trail.
- Do not enlarge campsites.
In Pristine Areas (off trail):
- Do not create new trails.
- Avoid places where signs of human impacts are just beginning.
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash and spilled food. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out used toilet paper, diapers and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
Leave What You Find
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave plants, rocks and other natural objects where you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting any nonnative species by carefully cleaning all your outdoor gear before taking any trip to a new area. Pay close attention to boot soles, tents and backpacks.
- Do not build structures, furniture or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Campfires are allowed only in designated fire rings at established sites. Unauthorized campfires can cause lasting impacts to the wilderness.
- Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Keep fires small.
- All wood must be taken from "dead and down" trees. Use only sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, exposes them to predators and other dangers, and causes them to lose their natural fear of humans.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let natureʼs sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
To learn more about Leave No Trace techniques, visit the parkʼs Wilderness Visitor Center or www.lnt.org. Everything you do in the wilderness should be done carefully. Use common sense and care at all times. Always carry an up-to-date, well-stocked first aid kit with the knowledge to use it appropriately. Most importantly, never take unnecessary risks and think through your actions. Remember, you are responsible for your actions.