Why Leave No Trace Principles Matter For Your RV Rental Business

Josh SchukmanJune 27, 2022

Why Leave No Trace Principles Matter For Your RV Rental Business

The outdoorsy lifestyle has exploded in popularity due to the events of the past few years. Our hunger for space and social distancing has led to more people discovering the joys of places like national parks, national forests, the wilderness, and more. 

As Outdoorsy RV owners, we have a unique responsibility to educate our renters on the principles of Leave No Trace. Many of our renters are first-timers, meaning they may not understand the critical role they play in keeping our national and wild lands better than they found them. In this article, we’ll chat about Leave No Trace principles and ways that you can make sure your renters are prepared to live them out on the road. 

Mt. Rainier, National Park, Washington

What are Leave No Trace Principles?

Leave No Trace principles are a set of seven principles — developed by a non-profit of the same name —  that are a blueprint for environmentally responsible recreating. Your renters will likely be traveling to landscapes that are highly sensitive to human traffic, so it is important that we do our part to educate them.

By understanding these principles and then imparting them to your renters, you’ll be helping protect the lands we all share. Here’s a quick snapshot of Leave No Trace principles:   

  1. Plan ahead and prepare — This involves things like understanding the weather, packing the right gear, and understanding local restrictions on fires, bathroom use, etc. 
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces — Always follow proper trail etiquette and don’t make camp in an area where you’ll damage nature.
  3. Dispose of waste properly — If a camping area doesn’t have wildlife-safe trash cans, you should always take your trash back out with you.
  4. Leave what you find — Souvenirs are fun at the souvenir shop, but they’re a bad idea in nature. Never remove plants, rocks, animal remains, etc.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts — Encourage your renters to always read up on fire restrictions and fire rules for any site they plan to camp at.
  6. Respect wildlife — Observe wildlife quietly and from a distance that doesn’t disturb their natural flow.
  7. Be considerate of others — Many people come into nature to enjoy silence and solitude. Respect other visitors by keeping your volume at a reasonable level, controlling any pets, and leaving your surroundings better than you found them.
Enjoying sunrise while car camping over a cliff in Sedona, Arizona with girl and dog

Why You Should Share Leave No Trace Principles

The majority of Outdoorsy renters are first-time RVers. This means they likely won’t arrive at the key exchange with a natural understanding of ways they can minimize their impact on the road.

That’s why having a conversation with your renter about these principles is so important. You’ll find that renters are very receptive to these ideas when you share them. Most folks who fail to practice Leave No Trace do so unintentionally — they simply don’t know the proper ways to care for the lands we all share. 

By imparting these principles to your renter and giving them the tools to care for the environment, you’ll be doing your part to ensure that our renters do theirs. 

Ways To Educate Your Renters On Environmental Stewardship

Here are some examples of easy ways to encourage your renters to respect nature:

  • Share the dos and don’ts of visiting national parks.
  • Hang the Leave No Trace principles up in your rig in a very visible spot.
  • In your pre-trip communications, make your renter aware of our 12 Commandments For Leave No Trace RVing (as a bonus, these commandments also encourage renters to leave no trace in your RV!).
  • Check out the Leave No Trace website’s resources for kids and talk to your renters about ways they can teach environmental responsibility to kids on the road.
  • Talk with your renters about things like staying on the trail, packing out their trash, and respecting fire rules everywhere they park it.
Leave No Trace Sign

What To Provide In Your RV For Leave No Trace

You can substantially increase the chances that your renters will practice Leave No Trace by providing amenities in your rig that help them do so. For example, you could provide compostable trash bags, an outdoor cook stove, post safe fire tips in your rig, hang wildlife photos that also have helpful tips about respecting animals at camp, and more. 

The idea is to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is a rookie when it comes to outdoor stewardship and then provide the tools they’d need to easily care for nature. 
We learn the most from nature when we care for it and respect it. By sharing Leave No Trace principles with your renters, you’ll equip them to respect the environment both on the road and when they get back home.

You’re also not alone when it comes to sharing these important ideas with your renters — Outdoorsy’s RV Owner Community Forum is a place where our owners go to bounce ideas off each other and learn ways to grow and optimize their businesses. You can join in on that convo to figure out more ways to help your renters Leave No Trace as they explore our wonderful lands.

Josh and his wife traveled around the country in an '88 Airstream for 4+ years of full-time RVing. They made an unexpected pitstop in Montana in 2020 and haven't left since. That's because they got hooked on the glamping resort they run by Glacier National Park. Fittingly, they keep up their RVing love by renting out vintage Airstreams and other retro RVs to travelers hitting Montana.

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