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May 28, 2015

Waterbury, VT: Have you ever had an EPIC because you accidentally took the baby shark trail and left your first rest stop without a quick gear check, leaving yourself camera-less after doing the jig to catch your awe-mazing moment?

To be sure this doesn’t happen to you, here are a few key terms, ideas, and philosophies to remember this summer while getting ready to hit the trails:

AN EPIC:  This is what happens when you forget a few essentials while planning and preparing—often ending with picker filled limbs, stubbed toes, and fresh pack tears.  Not a single step went as planned and zero goals for the adventure were accomplished.  You feel lucky to have survived.

BABY SHARKS:  A well-maintained trail, with either man-placed or natural rocks, that are just big enough, and just sharp enough to attack you through the soles of your shoes.    

GEAR CHECK:  You will learn this one fast—whenever you leave your picnic site, camp, or rest area, stare down the area like Chuck Norris stares down his opponents—check for crumbs, micro-trash, or your precious gear.   

DOIN’ THE JIG:  That thing you do to catch sunset at the vista point.  Somewhere between a jog, skip, and a waddle—imagine the “potty” dance in a forward motion.

AWE-MAZING:  That moment when the jig paid off and the true meaning of awesome and amazing come to light.  Go be awe-mazed. 

Not only is this the latest and greatest lingo-on-trail, but it proves several solid points on how to have successful adventures in the out-of-doors.  Be sure to plan ahead and prepare by knowing the distance and the terrain of your intended route and wearing/bringing appropriate gear.  Remember, sometimes durable surfaces include baby sharks and sloppy puddles—find out beforehand so you do not end up with bruised, soggy feet.  Debating on letting your crumbs run free?  Take the extra seconds to check your resting areas; not only will the little critters will thank you for helping them fight their addiction to human food and for steering them off the road of habituation, but you will also lose less gear.     

Stay safe on the trails this summer and be sure to share your adventures, your AWE-mazing moments.

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.

May 27, 2015

Redwood National Park, CA: Spending time outside can bring out the inner child in all of us; exploration, discovery, curiosity, and wonder are part of any outdoor experience, an area where the excitement of finding and observing something spectacular in nature is a tide pool. Adults and kids can spend hours (depending on the tides) searching through the rocks and seeing what creatures inhabit this zone. Tide pools consist of a sponges, sea stars, sea anemones, tubeworms, snails, crabs, and so much more. Due to the popularity of some beaches and the accessibility of tide pools (depending on tides), exploring tide pools is best done with care and certain considerations should be taken. (National Geographic)


Please use the following list of recommendations on your next trip to a tide pool.

1.     Walk on rocks to avoid crushing anything or damaging any plants. Be careful when walking on the rocks in a tide pool because they can be slippery and jagged.

2.     Know the rules and regulations of the area you are visiting. Check to see if seashell collection is allowed. Research the rules and specific considerations about handling or touching anything living in a tide pool.

3.     If handling or touching is allowed, be very gentle when touching anything living in a tide pool. If it does not come off the rocks easily, don’t remove it because it could die after being pried from a rock. If anything flees let it go. (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

4.     When touching anything in a tide pool, wet your hands first so that your skin does not damage their delicate surfaces. (

5.     If you lift up a rock to look underneath it, place it back in the same way that you found it so you don’t kill any animals living under it.

6.     Anything that you pickup to observe should be place back exactly where you found it. Rather than picking it up, just observe it from a distance.


Using these techniques when you are visiting a fragile and beautiful tide pool can help reduce your impact on it. If we all do our part to minimize our impact on tide pools, we preserve their integrity and allow for future visitors and future generations to enjoy.  


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

Pat and TJ

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.


May 27, 2015

Are you preparing for your first camping trip of the summer?  Take a second to brush up on your Leave No Trace knowledge with these camping basics from Gear Patrol.  This article features the Center's Education Director, Ben Lawhon!

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May 24, 2015

Multnomah Falls, OR: The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers were at Multnomah Falls, a towering 611-foot-tall cascade of icy water, this Memorial Day Weekend. Only a short drive away from Portland, the Falls receives over 2 million visitors annually, making it the most visited recreation site in the Pacific Northwest according to the USDA Forest Service. With so many sightseers, cumulative impacts are a serious concern, which is why it is critical that visitors practice Leave No Trace.

After a discussion with the local land managers, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers developed 5 ways guests can minimize their impacts. By following the guidelines listed here we can work towards conservation of our shared lands and waterways enjoyed for recreation. With the ultimate goal being to leave Multnomah Falls and the surrounding areas, better than when we arrived. 

1. Plan ahead and prepare for your trip to the falls by bringing enough water for your hike. Pro tip - The mist and spray from the falls creates a cooler, wetter micro-climate so be sure to pack an extra layer for added warmth. The falls is magnificently beautiful! Make sure to bring a camera.

2. If you are hiking to the top of the falls, stick to the trails to avoid cutting unestablished switchbacks and trail widening.  

3. Hiking to the creeks edge to enjoy the cool clean water can be quite inciting for many visitors. If you decide to follow suite, look for an established route and if you can't locate one consider driving to one of the many beach areas along the Columbia River Gorge instead. This will help protect the stream banks from erosion and keep the sensitive riparian environment healthy.

4. Pack it in, pack it out! Make sure to bring out any trash you bring in to the area. With annual visitation nearing 2 million people it is very important to be aware of cumulative impact. If you are feeling like going above and beyond the call of duty, consider picking up the trash you find even if it is not yours.

5. Be considerate of other visitors. While it may be tempting to photo bomb the nearest person taking a selfie on their iPhone, please restrain yourself. It can become very busy at the falls, so be polite and courteous to other visitors. When in doubt, treat others how you would like to be treated.

Adventure on!


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.