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Aug 02, 2015

New River Gorge National River, WV: A hike along the rim of the New River Gorge offers spectacular vistas of steep walls, rushing water, and lush green trees. This environment hosts large groves of Hemlock trees, which have stood for centuries. Since early 2005 these groves have been under attack from an unassuming visitor, the deadly Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.

Native to Asia, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has found sanctuary in the abundance of hemlock groves found on the eastern coast of North America. Without a native predator the Woolly Adelgid has the ability to reproduce quickly. So quickly in fact, the United States Department of Agriculture found that a single Hemlock Woolly Adelgid lays 300 eggs in a year, yielding an average of 90,000 new adelgids!

The hungry offspring feast at the base hemlock needles. As the adelgid consumes sap, it subsequently cuts off the flow of stored starches from the boughs. Once this connection is made nutrients will not reach the needles, causing them to darken in color, eventually turning brown and falling off. In 3-5 years the tree will die from this exposure to the invasive species.


(Photo provided by the New River Gorge National Park Service)

The hemlock groves of the New River Gorge National River provide a habitat for trout, salamanders, and birds such as the wood thrush. Hemlock trees cool mountain streams in the summer and retain moderate temperatures to prevent freezing during the winter months. Without hemlocks this area will see a dramatic shift in the ecosystem, a fact that should not be underestimated.


The National Park Service alongside the United States Forest Service is combating the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid using three techniques. Systemic pesticide injections and insecticidal oils and soaps are proven ways for temporarily disturbing the effect of the adelgid in single or small stands of trees. In vast forests of hemlocks biological control is implemented. Pt and Lari beetles are the only predator of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgids. Dispersing the small black beetles significantly decreases the population of woolly adelgids.


So what can you do?! Controlling any invasive species requires preventing the spread of the species itself. Here are some tips and tricks to minimize the spread of invasive species, including the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.


·      Plan ahead and prepare about invasive species in your area

·      Clean your clothes or gear before changing locations

·      Brush down the soles of your boots or trail shoes

·      Leave natural objects as you find them to avoid picking up hitchhikers

·      After hiking with your pet be sure to brush their coat

·      Use firewood from local sources only

·      Wash your car tire or bike tread before traveling long distances


Let’s work together to stop the spread of invasive species, and to save our Hemlock trees on the east coast! 

Steph & Andy

Leave No Trace’s Stephanie Whatton and Andy Mossey are part of the 2015 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 America, Deuter, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool, The North Face, and Yakima. 

Jul 28, 2015

Boulder, CO: Is there an outdoor area in the country that you love and want to see an increase in Leave No Trace education facilitated throughout the land management agencies, guiding companies that utilize the area, and visitors that recreate on that land? Do you have a favorite trail, mountain, beach, canyon, forest, or river that is degraded by litter, trampling, campfire scars, human and dog waste, impacts to wildlife, or inconsiderate visitors and you don’t know how to mitigate these impacts?  A Leave No Trace Hot Spot is the answer!

You can nominate a Leave No Trace “Hot Spot” anywhere in the nation; no area (city park, open space land, national park, US Forest land) is too big or too small. This program supports community-driven projects on public lands that work to improve the condition of a designated Hot Spot using Leave No Trace education, resources, volunteers and training.

Hot Spot_0.jpg

The Center intends to do the following:

1. Accept nominations from people, land managers, youth serving and educational organizations, partners, members, and governmental agencies for areas – Leave No Trace Hot Spots – that have recreation-related impacts that could be successfully mitigated through effective Leave No Trace programs.

2. Nominations are accepted through August 15, 2015, with up to 15 Hot Spots being chosen for 2016.

3. Chosen Hot Spots will receive the following:

•   Consultation on solutions and program implementation from the Center

•   A week-long visit from the expert Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers

         •   Training workshops for volunteers, employees, and key members of the community

•   Locally-tailored programs to meet site-specific needs

•   Educational materials

•   Volunteer citizen monitoring programs

•   Assistance in putting the Leave No Trace program into action

Submission Deadline: August 15, 2015

Nominate a Leave No Trace Hot Spot


Thanks for reading and remember to be like the Center’s mascot Bigfoot and Leave No Trace.

Pat and TJ - Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer West Central Team

Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2015 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 America, Deuter, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool, The North Face, and Yakima.


Jul 27, 2015

Myles Standish State Forest, Carver, MA                                                                     A mother pulls into the driveway leading up to her weathered, salt-licked home; it is a Friday afternoon in early July.  Summer is just kicking off, high temperatures have not yet gotten a grip on New Englanders, and a buzzzz fills the air.  The mother of three excitedly escapes the confines of her car and jigs her way to the large door of her home.  As she pries the swollen door from its frame, she realizes that this very door has shut her family in, disconnecting them from all that lies outside: the adventures and spontaneities of the out of doors.  She kicks off her shoes, bustles down the hall to find her husband and children awaiting her arrival, slowly counting down like a time bomb.  A cacophony erupts.  But above the din of the countless questions of dinnertime, pleas for larger allowances, and complaints against siblings that were stored up over the long summer vacation day, her thoughts manifested in speech.  “Honey, grab the kids.  We are going camping!”  Everyone is floored.  Eyes blinking frantically.  Faces turning from one to the other, trying to interpret what was just said.  “Was it…..?”  “Did she just……?”  “Are we really…..?”  “GOING CAMPING?!”  The husband, eyebrows raised, replies, “But we have never camped a day in our lives.  We don’t know the first thing about it.”  The matriarch, with a cool look in her eyes, says, “Then I guess we’ll all learn together.  Won’t we.”

The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer East Central Team spent last weekend in Carver, MA with a group of first time campers.  At the Learn To Camp function, the team had a chance to showcase how Leave No Trace ethics can be implemented during all camping experiences, whether a seasoned veteran or a first timer.  Leave No Trace wants everyone to be able to use the seven principles; no matter their experience or the setting.

Blake helps with a fishing demonstration for first time anglers!

Below we have highlighted our favorite tips and tricks to make sure everyone has a great time on their first camping (and all other) trips.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Be sure to pack for the weather; layers can increase your comfort and safety.
  • If bringing a cooler, freeze some water bottles or juice containers to use as “ice”.  This saves space and keeps your drinks icy cold for later. 

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Avoid taking short cuts to the bathroom, water, and/or trash receptacles.  These shortcuts can compact the soil/vegetation.   
  • Check the weather and be sure to bring several pairs of shoes: camp or “house” shoes, tennis shoes, and hiking boots.  Having hiking boots will keep your feet dry while walking down damp trails.  Remember, if you come across a puddle in the middle of the trail, the best practice is to travel right through it to avoid trail widening. 

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Be on the lookout for micro-trash!   Trash pieces that are very tiny can blow away easily and sometimes do not make it to the trash bag.  To steer clear from this,  re-package food in re-sealable bags/containers.
  • Using a skrim cloth to catch crumbs and small trash can be a great way to keep cleanup around the kitchen easy and keep wildlife safely away from camp.   


Help from our partners at Deuter during a Leave No Trace hike

Leave What You Find

  • Instead of picking flowers or collecting other beautiful, natural objects from the trail draw or snap a picture of it—better yet, bring a friend along to share the memory!
  • Have a boot brush handy in your car so you can brush away any seeds or spores from your shoes, socks, and pants. That way we will not carry any invasive species to another area.    


Kids look on during a campfire demonstration--Always have an adult when you use fire!

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires are great, but remember to use local wood and if you are collecting it, check out the 4D’s of firewood to remember during collection.  
  • Trash should never be put in a fire because it does not burn well and can be harmful to the environment and us. 

Respect Wildlife

  • Getting too close to wildlife can be harmful for the animals and put humans in danger.  Use the Rule of Thumb to make sure you are far enough away!  
  • Even though most food storage containers are thought to be for bears, we should be careful around all animals.  Raccoons, mice, and opossums can be equally adept at getting into your food while camping. 


Onlookers learn about local animals from park naturalists

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • When in campgrounds, be mindful of quiet hours, voice levels, and slamming car doors. 
  • We like to say, “Let Nature’s sounds prevail”, after all, that is one reason we go outdoors.  Share the trails with all users.  We all like doing different activities, but we may have similar reasons for doing those activities.  Respect others and above all, HAVE FUN!!


It is never too late to start a life outdoors.

Katelyn and Blake

Leave No Trace’s Katelyn Stutterheim and Blake Jackson are part of the 2015 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 America, Deuter, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool, The North Face, and Yakima.

Jul 26, 2015

Silver Falls State Park, OR: The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers West Team were recently on-site at the Let’s Go Camping event in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon to teach Leave No Trace and support participants throughout their camping experience. While on-site they interviewed Alicia Niemeyer, Visitor Experience Assistant - Valley Region of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, to gain a better understanding of Let's Go Camping. What they came to find out is that whether you are new to camping in Oregon or just looking to brush up on some hard skills, you will walk away from this weekend program feeling confident and ready to tackle a camping trip of your own! Check out the interview below for more details and information on how to sign up for this guided camping excursion. 

Video interview with Alicia Niemeyer describing the Let's Go Camping program.

Jenna: My name is Jenna, I am a Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer. I am on-site at Silver Falls State Park with Alicia, who’s going to talk to us about Let’s Go Camping!

Jenna: What is Let’s Go Camping?

Alicia: Let’s Go Camping is a fully guided camping experience for families.

Jenna: Why would someone sign up for Let’s Go Camping?

Alicia: We typically get two types of families who sign up. Those who have never camped before and families who have maybe camped in the past, but haven’t gone out with their kids. Let’s Go Camping provides an experience where they can try out camping with the support of staff and volunteers.

Jenna: Does Let’s Go Camping provide gear?

Alicia: We do!

Jenna: What are the goals of the Let’s Go Camping program?

Alicia: We want people to come and have a fun and relaxing time camping. We also want them to leave with the confidence to go out and do it on their own, which is why we incorporate core programing throughout the weekend. We have programs such as campfire building and safety, the 10 essentials of hiking, Leave No Trace principles and dutch oven cooking.

Jenna: Are there any planned activities during the camp out?

Alicia: Depending on the park we're at we have different ranger led activities. This includes kayaking, bird watching, star gazing and we ALWAYS have a junior ranger program.

Jenna: Looking back, what has been your most fond memory in working with new campers?

Alicia: I love seeing people do a skill they’ve never done before. In one of my first Let’s Go Camping camp outs we had a women who had never been camping and when we did the fire building demonstration she was so excited. She got right in the action and tried to help out by shaving off the magnesium on the fire starter and she successfully started the campfire for the night! To me it was just a really exciting moment.

Jenna: Where are the Let’s Go Camping camp outs held?

Alicia: It’s a state wide program so it’s different every year, but it happens at State Parks throughout Oregon.

Jenna: How do I sign up for Let’s Go Camping?

Alicia: You can look for the Let’s Go Camping program on our website at!

Jenna: Alicia, thank you so much for teaching us about the Let’s Go Camping Program.

Alicia: Your Welcome! Thank you.

See you downstream!

Jenna and Sam

Leave No Trace’s Jenna Hanger and Sam Ovett are part of the 2015 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 America, Deuter, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool, The North Face, and Yakima.