Most Recent Blogs

Aug 26, 2015

Boulder, CO: The non-profit organization Keep America Beautiful (KAB) is involved in the reduction of waste and the beatification of communities throughout the country. KAB was founded in 1953 and has over 1,200 local affiliates in the US. Throughout the 60s and 70s seminal research was conducted by the KAB to determine littering behavior in the US. Today KAB is still continuing their littering research and has several notable findings. (Shultz and Stein, 2009)


According to the KAB, Littering in America: National Findings and Recommendations by Wesley Schultz and Steven Stein (2009), there are various reasons why people are inclined to litter from contextual variables to personal variables. Contextual variables can include the availability of trashcans, the accumulative impact of other litter in the area, and even weather. Personal variables include age, awareness, attitudes and feelings of personal responsibility. Stein and Schultz’s study showed that 15% of littering behavior had to do with the contextual demands and 85% had to do with personal variables.


Shultz and Stein found that variety of conditions seem to encourage or discourage littering in public places. Not surprisingly, the most commonly littered items found by KAB are cigarette butts, food waste, and wrappers. Food waste items such as food waste are more likely to be thrown out due to the misconception that they will biodegrade very quickly. A few of the personal variables that discourage littering are if people feel a connection with their community or have a strong sense of personal responsibility they are less likely to litter. Age was a factor as well, older people are less likely to litter than younger people. A contextual variable from the the report found that it appears that the presence of trashcans increases the likelihood that someone will dispose of their waste properly, as does a how busy or rushed someone is and cannot be bothered to throw away their trash.


A very positive finding from Shultz and Stein is that littering has decreased over the decades. A very similar study (sample size and methodology) from 1968 compared to the current 2009 Littering in America study, found that 50% of people admitted to littering in 1968 compared to only 15% of people in 2009.

Shultz and Stein's 2009 study and the 1968 study were conducted mostly in urban areas, but community parks were an area that was studied. Roadways, residential areas, and even loading docks were also observed and used in the KAB report, which are not areas that are outside of Leave No Trace’s scope. With that said, it is still interesting and important to understand why people feel that littering is okay and what variables affect their decisions.  Leave No Trace is concerned with littering in the backcountry and frontcountry (any outdoor area close to the road) areas where people are traveling and camping. Leave No Trace’s third of the seven principals is dispose of waste properly which covers the proper disposal of trash as well as human/pet waste.

Thanks to Wesley Schultz, Steven Stein, and Keep America Beautiful for their Executive Summary: Littering in America.

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.

Aug 25, 2015

Nordhouse Dunes, MI--Welcome to the Huron Manistee National Forest!  This past week, we, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers East Central Team visited the Nordhouse Dunes, taking a proactive stance to educate the increasing amount of recreationists at this popular location so we can continue enjoying this fragile ecosystem.  So what do you need to know before visiting this Hot Spot?

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.


Aug 23, 2015

Bend,OR: Minimizing campfire impacts is as important as ever in the American West.

“For the last 10 years, an average of about 3,500 human-caused wildfires have burned an average of approximately 400,000 acres of National Forest System land annually, with most caused by campfires.” - U.S. Forest Service Website

Yesterday we, The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team West, drove from Glide, OR to Bend, OR. Our 3 hour road journey routed us along the edge of a major wildfire burning near Crater Lake National Park. Our destination, Bend, OR is also surrounded by raging wildfires. You might say we are currently in a ring of fire!

If you live in the west, wildfires are not a foreign sight. However for those who don’t and/or have never lived out west, here is a glimpse into what it’s like to be in wildfire country.

You can look directly at the sun through the smoke. Sunsets are gorgeous. The moon turns bright orange at night. Radio stations give regular updates on air quality conditions due to smoke. Fire crews are a familiar sight at the edge of wilderness areas. Communities rally around fire fighters to show their support. Smoke fills the air. When it is all over, the trees are burnt to a crisp. We are asking you to be a good steward in the outdoors by reviewing the following principles before heading out on your next adventure.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.

  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.

  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.

  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

“The Forest Service and other public lands agencies respond to tens of thousands of wildfires per year. Each year, an average of more than 73,000 wildfires burn about 7.3 million acres of private, state and federal land and more than 2,600 structures.” - U.S. Forest Service Website

Click here to learn more about how the US Forest Service manages fires.

Current fires burning via satellite

NASA's Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, instrument on August 19, 2015. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner

Northwest Fire Situation Interactive Map

Curious if you're driving into a wildfire? The Northwest Large Fire Interactive Map is a great tool to locate fires near you.

Wildfires captured burning through the night

This image was acquired in the early morning local time on August 19 with the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite(VIIRS) sensor on the Suomi NPP satellite. The image was made possible by the instrument’s “day-night band,” which uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals including those from wildfires. Labels point to the large, actively burning fires in the region.

Real Time Webcam View of Crater Lake

From the Sinnott Memorial Overlook webcam, 7100 feet above sea level, you can view Wizard Island, Llao Rock, and at times you can see Mount Thielsen outside the park. The screen capture from the webcam shows the smoke over Crater Lake. 

We all love campfires. At Leave No Trace we simply ask that you build and maintain them responsibly in areas where they are allowed. Thanks for your consideration and cooperation.

Enjoy your world!

Jenna and Sam - Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer West Team

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. 

Aug 22, 2015

Laurel Hill State Park, PA: Festivals are a great way to enjoy music, the company of family, friends, and the great outdoors! This past weekend the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers attended the Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival at Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset, Pennsylvania. This free music festival has more than 10,000 visitors over the weekend. With the help of the Pennsylvania State Parks, the community members, and the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers the local area remains just as beautiful afterwards as it was before!

        Day 2 8.jpg

Laurel Hill has done a great job to keep the park clean during their festival. While this festival was not an overnight experience, attendees had the option to camp overnight at the designated campground close by. The managers incorporate Leave No Trace education into the fun filled weekend camping experience! This includes Leave No Trace hikes through the state park and awareness workshops held right in the public campground.

The rangers have worked together to provide plenty of trash and recycling bins throughout the festival as well as bathrooms for all of the people visiting. Bringing great music to an outdoor venue puts smiles on peoples faces! Leave No Trace made an effort to talk about tips while at the festival. Below are some great ways to incorporate Leave No Trace into your next festival and park experience!

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare: Bring a reusable water bottle to help eliminate waste and to stay hydrated.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly: Use available trash and recycling bins and consider picking up some litter along the way to make the experience better for everyone. Always remember to use available restrooms/port-a-potties. If you are out on a hike a cannot find a facility, walk to the “facili-trees” by going 200 feet from any trail, water source, or campsite and dig a cat hole 6-8 inches deep!
  • Stick To Designated Trails and Durable Surfaces
  • Be Considerate to Other Visitors: Be kind to others. Everyone wants to create a memorable experience in the great outdoors just as much as you!


We hope you all have the chance to enjoy some more summer events and outdoor activities! Enjoy music, friends, and the great outdoors!


If you want to learn more tips and tricks to minimizing your impact when outside, you can find a Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer event near you by visiting our calendar!

Adventure on!

Steph and Andy – Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, East Coast Team

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.