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Apr 17, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park, California- Graffiti on boulders, cliff lines, and shelters is unfortunately an issue in JTNP in Southern California. Boulders along the road into the park, at the campgrounds, and at picnic areas are marred with spray paint or carvings. There are certain impacts that are caused by a lack of knowledge or care such as choosing improperly placed campsites or people who don’t realize how long the fruit peel they just threw on to the ground will last for. Spray painting a rock in a national park or carving something into a tree or rock is a crime and disrupts the pristine environment that the park service is trying to sustain.


Boulders can be cleaned after they have been spray painted; yet it is not a complete fix and residues will still remain. Park managers in multiple parks have had to close areas because of vandalism from defacing rocks and structures with spray paint. All parts of a national park are protected under federal law from graffiti vandalism.


At the Center we encourage the use of the Authority of the Resource when you catch someone doing something less than Leave No Trace. Joshua Tree National Park encourages visitors to help prevent this form happening. Rangers cannot be everywhere and need the support of the public. JTNP encourages visitors to not approach people vandalizing rock faces, but to record the time, date, license plate numbers and what the person looks like.

Carving into a tree allows insects to invade or can kill the tree if enough people remove enough bark. We encourage people to use pictures and sketches to remember that they have been to a certain area, rather then leave their mark.  By leaving your mark on a tree, you encourage the accumulative impact of others doing it as well.

Thanks for reading and remember to be like Bigfoot and Leave No Trace.

Pat and TJ

Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2014 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, Coleman, Hi-Cone, The North Face, REI, Smartwool and Yakima.

Apr 16, 2014

In celebration of Earth Day, Grand Trunk is donating 10-percent of online sales in April to support Leave No Trace.

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Apr 15, 2014

Bronx, NY.  Spring is definitely in the air at the Bronx Botanical Gardens.  On Sunday, we worked with members of the New Youth Conservationists, a group of youth from the New York City area who participate in studies and restoration projects along the Bronx River.  Their primary focus is a one-mile section of the river that runs through the Bronx Botanical Gardens. We had the opportunity to spend a few hours on Daffodil Hill and share information with the group on how to Leave No Trace anytime they are enjoying the outdoors, whether in their neighborhoods, here at the Botanical Gardens, or out on a camping trip.  


The group takes field trips throughout the year, one of which is a three day camping trip in upstate New York.  In order to help prepare the group for this trip, we focused our workshop on the first three principles of Leave No Trace in frontcountry areas:  Know Before You Go, Stick to the Trails and Camp Overnight Right, and Trash Your Trash and Pick Up Poop.   

We discussed the importance of proper trip planning in order to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment, while also minimizing potential impacts.  After brainstorming a list of gear, the group played Minimum Impact Match, a game from the book 101 Ways to Teach Leave No Trace.  In this game, each person must figure out what piece of gear they have taped to their back by asking yes or no questions.  Once they figure out the answer, the group discusses how that piece of gear can help to Leave No Trace at the campsite.  Next, the group played a competitive game of Step On It, which looks at durable surfaces, followed by an educational look at trash, through the game How Long Does It Last?  To finish the day, the group expressed a Leave No Trace principle through song and created some amazing lyrics and beats!  Check out the Center's Facebook Page to see the video. 


After the workshop, we enjoyed a nice stroll through the gardens.  Spring is in full bloom!

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We even spotted this furry creature living in the park! 


Happy Spring...Kate and Tracy

Leave No Trace’s Kate Bullock and Tracy Howard are part of the 2014 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, Coleman, Hi-Cone, The North Face, REI, Smartwool and Yakima. 

Apr 11, 2014

Charleston, South Carolina - Stories from the Road: Roland and I have been traveling with Leave No Trace for 18 months. We have been to the East Coast, to the West Coast and to the East Coast again. We have driven over 35,000 miles, been through 35 different states and have slept over 300 nights in a tent. It’s hard to recall all the individual campgrounds, parks, forests, and mountain areas we have called home for the night. It’s a lot – that’s all I know!

We’ve seen various lakes, rivers, oceans, trees, plants and wildflowers; the names of which are too great to list. We’ve spotted, seen or been visited by ravens, turtles, snakes, bees, owls, mosquitos, skunks, eagles, fox, butterflies, bears, ants, hummingbirds, lizards, hawks, possums, cardinals, frogs, spiders, armadillos, beetles, blue jays, mice, hogs, alligators, and squirrels – to name a few wild creatures.

In all the places we’ve been and all the wild things we’ve seen, we have never been able to find fireflies! Fireflies or Lightning Bugs are enchanting and mysterious little insects. What makes these insects so endearing? The fascination is in their luminescent bodies that glow in the night. Fireflies have dedicated light organs that are located under their abdomens. The insects take in oxygen and, inside special cells, combine it with a substance called Luciferin to produce a “cold” light.


Firefly lights are the most efficient lights in the world - 100% of the energy is emitted as light. Compare that to an incandescent bulb, which emits 10% of its energy as light and the rest as heat, or a fluorescent bulb, which emits 90% of its energy as light. Firefly light is usually intermittent, and flashes in patterns that are unique to each species.

Fireflies emit light mostly to attract mates, although they also communicate for other reasons as well, such as to defend territory and warn predators away. Despite their, name, fireflies are not flies at all; they are nocturnal winged beetles. They don`t bite, they have no pincers, they do not attack, they are not poisonous, and their visual display is absolutely beautiful. They are the gentlest insects known.

Everyone can picture this scene: A large, open grassy meadow. The sun is setting in the distance, casting a beautiful dim light across the field. The air is warm and a slight breeze moves through the sky, making the grass dance as it passes by. There are kids skipping freely in the meadow, holding glass jars in their out stretched hands. If you look closely, you will notice a small flicker of light sailing above the grass. As you keep watching, you see a multitude of little lights appear, as if out of nowhere. The lightning bugs have come out to play! And the children are doing their best to capture the glowing insects inside their glass jars. After some time and effort, the jars are full of tiny flickering fireflies and the kids are laughing with joy as the sun disappears from the sky. They let their jars empty as an orchestra of light explodes back into the night sky…

That is the scene we are in search of! We want to recreate this magical childhood past time. We want to frolic in a meadow awestruck by the glowing butts of lightning bugs!

There are certain factors needed to see a firefly:

  1. Fireflies come out in the summertime and live in various habitats. Many species thrive in forests, fields, or the margins between them.
  2. Most firefly species have one thing in common: standing water. They live near ponds, streams, marshes, rivers and lakes, but they don't need a lot of water to get by. 
  3. Fireflies love long grass in humid, warm environments.

Our circumstances in comparison:

  1. Spring has arrived and summer is right around the corner! We camp in forests and fields every night.
  2. The campgrounds we stay at are almost always near rivers and lakes where long grasses grow.
  3. We are currently traveling in the Southeast, where it is warm and humid.

The necessary factors are lining up perfectly for us! We will keep our eyes peeled and our fingers crossed. Our lightning bug experience is coming soon – I just know it!


Ninjas for Nature – Dani & Roland

Leave No Trace’s Dani and Roland Mott are part of the 2014 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, Coleman, Hi-Cone, The North Face, REI, Smartwool and Yakima.