Research & Education

5 Tips for Your Leave No Trace Autumn Adventures

Cameron & Nick - September 30, 2019

Autumn has arrived and it’s time to venture out and explore the beauty of the season. One great fall activity is traveling to view the fall foliage. If you are planning a trip to see the leaves change this year, check out these 5 tips to enjoy the season – Leave No Trace style:

1. Prepare for Changing Leaves and Changing Weather
Fall weather can be unpredictable and temperatures can change quickly. Plan Ahead and Prepare for the weather by bringing extra layers and rain gear. Being prepared will help you stay safe and comfortable on your leaf peeping adventures.

2. Keep an Eye on the Trees and the Trails
As the leaves fall and cover the path, they can make trails hard to follow. Research your route ahead of time and follow trail markers closely to avoid getting lost or wandering off the trail. Sticking to trails keeps you safe and reduces damage to the soil and plants in the area.

3. Leave the Leaves
The leaves an incredible sight, but what they do for the ecosystem is even more amazing! As leaves on the ground decompose, they add important nutrients like nitrogen, calcium, and potassium back to the soil. These nutrients keep the soil healthy and help trees produce leaves year after year. Help protect next year’s fall foliage by keeping leaves where they land.

4. Leave Space for Wildlife
Autumn is an important time for wildlife. Animals are rushing to prepare for the winter by storing food, building shelters, or making long migrations. Disturbing wildlife during this sensitive time can affect an animal’s ability to survive the winter. Respect Wildlife by observing them from a distance and allowing them access to food, water, and other things they may need.

5. Enjoy the Colors, Avoid the Crowds
There are plenty of beautiful leaves but there are only a limited number of parks, forests, and public spaces. Large crowds can put added stress on our shared outdoor areas. We can reduce the strain on these places by doing our part to spread out the crowd. Explore less visited fall hikes and viewpoints or consider visiting areas at times when they are less busy, such as early in the morning. Bonus points if you see the fall colors and the sunrise!

Looking for more information to help you enjoy the fall season and Leave No Trace? Learn more in the links below:

https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/
https://lnt.org/research-resources/leaf-what-you-find/
https://www.esf.edu/pubprog/brochure/leaves/leaves.htm
https://lnt.org/cowabunga-fall-leaves-and-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles/

Leave No Trace’s Cameron Larnerd and Nick Whites are part of the 2019 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of AmericaREIEagles Nest OutfittersDeuter,
ThuleFjällräven and Klean Kanteen.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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