Most Recent Blogs

May 11, 2015

Vandalism continues to be a major problem in parks.  Which of the Seven Principles does this issue conflict with?  Read the full article here.  

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May 07, 2015

Smith Rock State Park, Oregon: This past weekend the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers attended the 23rd annual Spring Thing trail cleaning/building day at Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, Oregon. Smith Rock is a climbers dream area; tall cliffs dotted with cracks and sport routes in an ideal desert setting with snowy peaks in the background make this a fantastic place to climb. Due to Smith’s ideal temperature in the spring, winter, and fall; the perfect rock, the quantity of routes, and the close proximity to major urban areas like Bend, Eugene, and Portland, Smith sees a lot of visitors throughout the year.  Over 700,000 visitors come to the park each year with a total of 19,000 campers using the bivouac campsite throughout the year. The park is a mere 758 acres, but hosts climbers, birders, hikers, trail runners, horseback riders, mountain bikers, and paddlers. Due to all of the amount of people, the popularity of the park, and the small acreage, impacts are accumulating at a significant rate.

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Impacts at Smith Rock State Park include; unprepared visitors needing assistance due to a lack of proper equipment and poorly researched trip planning, undesignated trails forming and plants/living biological soil crusts being trampled, impacts to wildlife, dog owners not controlling or cleaning up after their dogs, poor trail etiquette, and noisy groups.

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The Leave No Trace education department is working with the park staff at Smith Rock to develop recommendations to help educate visitors to mitigate the impacts found there.  A set of 5 principles specific to Smith Rock State Park for all visitors and recreational activities will be implemented. Once the principles are finalized, they will be publicized several different ways

·      Leave No Trace Social Media

·      Signs at Kiosks

·      Rotating Single Principle Signs in Key Locations

·      The Oregon State Park website and The Smith Rock State Park website

·      Website Posting

·      Local Media

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A document focused on recommendations for large organized climbing groups is in the development stages. It will be very detailed and is not a climbing management plan.

If you know any parks or land management agencies in your area that would benefit from Leave No Trace specific considerations developed for them please contact info@LNT.org.

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 01, 2015

San Francisco's Dolores Park is currently facing some challenges concerning trash and visitors.  In order to take on these challenges San Francisco's Parks Department has contracted Leave No Trace to consult this "culture problem".  Check out this article featuring the Center's Education Director, Ben Lawhon!  

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Apr 28, 2015

Zion National Park, Utah: Wildflowers are blooming, cactus and other plants dot the hillsides and cliffs, and everything from bighorn sheep down to chipmunks find food and shelter in Zion. It is amazing how full of life the desert is when you think about how harsh the climate can be in the southwestern United States. A valuable resource that allows the desert to sustain life is living biological crust, also known as cryptobiotic crust. See the picture below, the yellow cylinder is a tube of cap stick for perspective

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Living biological crust (LBC) is a combination of lichens, moss, photosynthetic bacteria, and fungi. Plant life relies on this LBC as a source of nutrients (it fixes the nitrogen and carbon in the soil) in the nutrient deficient soil, it helps keep the ground from eroding after a rain storm and traps the water in which feeds the thirsty plants. All too often people crush LBC due simply not knowing its value or how to properly identify it. Below our some pictures from Arches National Park to help you see LBC’s different phases.

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Young crust

·      Very hard to see when it is first developing.

·      The living organisms take long time to develop.

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Immature crust

·      After about 5 years color and texture starts to appear.

·      The soil starts to bind together.

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Mature crust

·      The crust is now able to be a base for plants in the desert.

·      Lichens in the crust help improve nitrogen in the soil.

·      Moses help hold moisture in the crust.

·      Erosion is prevented thanks to the crust.

When you are out hiking in the desert remember to avoid crushing this valuable resource.

Trampled living biological crust

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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.

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