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.
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.