Leave a beautiful trace

We love our outdoors here on the Coffs Coast. The empty beaches, the lush green forests, the cool waters on a sunny day. THIS IS WHY IT’s sad WHEN THE PLACES WE LOVE THE MOST, ARE BEING LOVED TO DEATH.

Text by Elisabeth Nicolson, Sustainable Living Programs Officer, Coffs Harbour City Council

Leave nothing but footprints

There are so many ways to immerse yourself in nature on the Coffs Coast. That’s why is it’s so upsetting when you find straws, coffee cups, beer cans, dog poo, lolly wrappers, branches ripped down for a beach fire, trampled plants, loud music at your swimming hole and dogs in national parks. Here are the international principles for leaving no trace on your next adventure:

Plan ahead and prepare

Tell people where you are going and when you will be back. Ah, and know where you are going! Make sure your lack of preparation and knowledge doesn’t mean our rescue services have to risk their lives to find you.

Use designated camping areas

Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Don’t venture off-road or off designated paths. It can cause erosion and degrade an area. Can you imagine if 50 people do the same thing?

Take your rubbish with you

Dispose of waste properly

A no brainer! Take your rubbish with you – especially dog poop and make sure you check what your kids have accidentally left behind. Get the family into the “Emu Parade” and pick up what you see. If you need to poop in the woods, know how to do it the right way!

Touch but don’t take

Leave what you find

Yeah we find lots of pretty things out there but we should really leave them behind. Why? Well for two reasons- so that other people can see and enjoy them and because often nature needs them too. For example, the pretty shell you see may be the perfect next home for a growing hermit crab. Or rocks that could be an ancient indigenous artefact. Maybe take a photo or draw a picture instead!

Keep wildlife safe and wild


This means enjoy but don’t disturb. No feeding or petting otherwise you can create sick animals that harass humans. Don’t scare animals and please know where you can take dogs!

Follow the fishing size and bag limits and always carry a fishing permit

Be considerate of other visitors

Think about group size and the noise you create especially in special places. If you want to have a noisy gathering go for one of our designated picnic areas rather than a secluded spot.

Whether you are fishing, hiking or hanging these principles all apply. And hey, why not go the extra step and aim to leave a beautiful trace.

If you would like to know more, come along on one of our free guided nature experiences.

Leave the place cleaner than how you found it and perhaps think about donating your time or money to one of our many Landcare groups so they can continue to look after the places you love!