Letterboxing Code of Conduct
Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace principles are a set of guidelines for outdoor etiquette in order to minimize the impact we have on our environmental resources. It is important for letterboxers to follow this philosophy—even more so than the typical hiker—because if letterboxers start developing a reputation for damaging environmentally sensitive areas, letterboxing in those areas will be banned. The letterboxing community should be an example to others for how humans can co-exist with natural areas in peace.
Care must be taken in both planting and finding letterboxes. While planting a letterbox, avoid environmentally sensitive areas. Do not hide a letterbox far off the trail where others will trample vegetation, flowers, or otherwise cause damage. Use natural hiding places for your letterbox instead of digging holes or moving large rocks. Letterboxes should be placed in publicly-accessible areas, yet stay out of sight of anyone not looking for them. This includes seasonal considerations such as a creek that will flood letterboxes during the spring runoff or leafy brush that hides a letterbox well in the summer, but is plainly exposed through the naked branches of winter.
While looking for a letterbox, remember to leave the area just as you found it. If you look under a rock, replace the rock back where you found it. Don't pull out plants or rip up the ground looking for a letterbox. Avoid trampling vegetation while searching for the letterbox. And sometimes—if a letterbox is poorly located—your best option might be to let the box go. You might know the letterbox is located on the other side of that meadow, but if you cannot cross that meadow without creating a new path through it, let the letterbox go. The environmental damage caused in acquiring the letterbox is not worth it. A well-placed letterbox should not require any damage to the surrounding area to get. Even better, if you discover such a letterbox, you should notify the owner of the box suggesting that the letterbox be moved to a better location or the clues removed so others don't damage the environment.
While letterboxing, set an example for others to follow. Pick up trash along the way. Do not cut corners at trail intersections or switchbacks. If you have a dog, follow all leash laws. Keep your distance from wildlife. Some lands have restrictions on land use; know them and observe them. For more information, visit the Leave No Trace website.