Our Work Is Grounded In Science

Leave No Trace is grounded in science and research and has been since its origins in the field of recreation ecology. This has evolved over the years as recreation-related impacts and associated monitoring has incorporated human dimensions of natural resources, striving to understand how and why humans cause impacts and, ultimately, how to influence behaviors to decrease recreational-related impacts. Our education and programming efforts are grounded in science and research.

A group of people taking water samples from a pond

Meet Leave No Trace's Science Team

Leave No Trace research covers a plethora of different topics and studies. Scientists from all over the world are working individually and in teams to study, assess, and understand more about Leave No Trace behaviors, ideology, messaging and more. Below are some of the scientists who are currently helping to understand and boost Leave No Trace research.

Read About Our Upcoming Research

Research Studies

Are you a fan of learning about human behavior and data? Follow the below links to find a small selection of the research that informs Leave No Trace practices and guidance.

Dirt road in the desert around sundown

Research Bibliography

Research that informs the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace.

Trash cans at a trailhead with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains

Waste in National Parks

A brief look at our Zero Landfill Initiative work in the National Park System.

Man walking dog throwing away it's poop in a garbage can

Pet Waste Study

Insights on behaviors and perceptions of pet waste in natural areas.

Group of kids digging up leaves

Leave No Trace Youth Study

Will they leave what they find? The efficacy of a Leave No Trace education program for youth.

Trash cans at a trailhead with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains

RMNP Bouldering Study

Boulderers’ attitudes and beliefs regarding Leave No Trace in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sign attached to wooden post

Undesignated Trail Use Study

The efficacy of messaging and direct site management actions in an urban-proximate open space context

Volunteers taking notes in a sandy field

State Park Visitor Behavior

Understanding and influencing state park visitors’ Leave No Trace behavioral intent.

Person hiking in a park with high cliffs and tall pines

National Park Visitor Behavior

Factors influencing behavioral intentions for Leave No Trace  in national parks.

Hiker looking out over a canyon

Leave No Trace Research Stats

Leave No Trace Research listed by principle.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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