Most Recent Blogs

Oct 26, 2015

Jasper, AR--There are two schools of thought about choosing your career, or the work you do:  1. It defines who you are; it is what you live for.  2. It offers you a means to do the things you want to do or have the things you want to have?  For many people the latter is becoming the case more and more as we see a shift from days spent in a corporate world to nights spent in WV Vanagons traveling the country in search of the next great adventure.  Regardless of how you view the work you do, we can all agree on one thing, everybody is working for the weekend.  Whether you like to camp, hike, horseback ride, float, climb, or relax in style in a home away from home, we have found a place for you:  Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.  This 500+ acre ranch has it all, from wildlife to wild activities.  It is no wonder that thousands of weekend warriors come to visit this haven in the Ozark Mountains all year round.  But it seems that even this place has not been able to escape the litterbug’s vengeance.

Leave No Trace is focused on changing peoples’ behavior when it comes to how we interact with the outdoors.  Often the change can take place with a little well placed education and awareness.  This education includes how to dig a cat-hole and how to remain on durable surfaces; but there is another arm of the education encouraging recreationists to examine the mindset with which they enter a place, to explore their ethic and bring it to the forefront of their minds.  We, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers East Central Team, had a chance last week to thank the owner of Horseshoe Canyon for sharing their spectacular property with us and the public.  Naturally, the topic of Leave No Trace arose.  We began discussing the aftermath of the near 120 visitors that visited Horseshoe Canyon the weekend before: “It’s a bit different here.  It is all pay to play, so people pay to come here, to climb and camp...meaning they should be cleaned up after.” 

It can be easy to fall into this mindset, and we understand that this mindset can stem from our experiences with the service industry, but we want to challenge it.  If we use the idea, paying to be here means we should be waited on, our outdoor recreation would never lend any attention to environmental stewardship.  While we may not pay directly to recreate in some national/state parks, national forests, or other public land, we are always contributing through taxes, donations, and in some cases, volunteer hours.  If payment were an excuse to trash a place then soon all of our wild lands would be degraded beyond the point of healing. 

Whether we are on private land or public land it is paramount to take care of our environment and we can use our ethics as a guideline to help us make appropriate decisions, develop healthy habits, and become good stewards of our environment.  Each person’s ethics will be different because we develop our personal ethics from our own experiences in life and no two people are just alike.  It is important to always view our ethics as an evolution, and to question the choices we make.  Through this examination we can begin to change a mind set that may have been influenced by our past experiences, but may no longer be the best practice for us. Leaving no trace does not happen overnight, it can take form in baby steps, baby thoughts, micro trash or the Bigfoot Challenge, but ultimately it is our goal to see that Weekend Warrior and Outdoor Steward are synonymous as environmentally conscious recreationists, so that we can keep the litterbugs at bay.  From your backyard to the backcountry—it is all connected. 

Leaving your mark is overrated. 

--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.


Oct 26, 2015

Ventura, CA: The truth is out. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the generosity of people like you, as well as amazing organizations, to support our mission. At Leave No Trace our mission is to educate people about the nature of their impacts, connect individuals to the outdoors and protect our shared lands and waterways enjoyed for recreation. Educate, connect and protect. With your help, we can raise awareness and reduce impact to the outdoor spaces we all love to enjoy. 

Need more incentives? Check out our Top 10 Reasons to Become a Member of Leave No Trace. 


Click here to join the movement! Enjoy your world and leave no trace.

Helping keep our wilderness wild,

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

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.


Oct 25, 2015

Cherokee, NC: Great Smoky Mountain National Park is home to some to some of the most impressive landscapes found in the eastern United States. Waterfalls, exposed rock cliffs, and mountains that seemingly go on forever. This area is home to more than 60 mammals including black bears, elk, white-tailed deer, and the elusive bobcat. Visiting any national park is a special experience, an experience worth protecting. It is our job as visitors to understand the ways to protect wildlife while we are in their natural habitats. By doing so, we can preserve the quality of the experience for future generations to enjoy, just as much as we do.


It is frightening to witness people getting a too close for comfort to wild animals. It is not uncommon for people to try and feed deer or to try and get a selfie with a bear to post to social media for all of our friends to see. Not only are these occurrences a hazard for our personal safety but it also poses a threat to wildlife.

As a wild animal becomes habituated to the presence of humans, a distinct shift in their actions will occur.

  • Animals become reliant on searching for human food and stop hunting for their natural prey.
  • Wildlife is wild; if animals feel threatened they may act out in rage.
  • If an animal continuously searches for human food in the same location, the animal will be transported in hopes to deter its efforts.
  • If the relocation of an animal fails to work, the animal may be euthanized.


Seeing a black bear and her cubs for the first time is an exciting moment. For many people the possibility of seeing wildlife can be a main attraction for getting out and experiencing nature. If you see wildlife it is important to remember a few tips and tricks on how we can keep animals wild and prevent habituation.

  • Always remember to plan ahead and prepare to bring a bear canister or bear bag for proper storage of food and smell-able items such as sunscreen, lip balm, deodorant, and soap.
  • When car camping store all food and smell-able items inside of a sealed vehicle or hard sided camper.
  • Keep track of food scraps including apple cores, banana peels, and orange peels.
  • If you encounter a wild animal, utilize the Thumb Trick. Extend one arm with a thumb up, close one eye and attempt to hide the animal with your thumb. If the animal cannot fit behind the entirety of your thumb, back up and give the animal more space.
  • Use binoculars or a zoom lens to achieve that close-up view.

The habituation of wildlife is completely avoidable. By taking the necessary precautions, we protect the animals and the places we love.


Steph and Andy – Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team East

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.

Oct 22, 2015

San Antonio, TX: As we travel through Texas this Fall we have noticed the Don’t Mess With Texas signs all over the highway and in parks. Don’t Mess with Texas is a well known saying, but most people outside of Texas don’t realize that it is actually a anti-littering campaign featured throughout the state. Teaching Texas youth the importance of their home state’s famous saying is simplified using the trash timeline.

The trash timeline teaches people of all ages how long litter lasts for if it is left on the ground out in park. The research behind this activity comes from a USDA Forest Service study that averages the amount of time it takes for trash to biodegrade, corrode, or photodegrade in a variety of environments from the desert, beach, forests, or alpine areas. This activity is an effective way to teach people the importance of packing out your trash and keeping the area you are traveling in pristine and beautiful for the next person hiking down the trail.


“Trash Timeline”

Audience: All ages. Groups of any size. With up to 22 people, each person can have an active part in this activity.

Time: 15-20 minutes.

Materials: 11 Pictures, some sheets of newsprint paper, a banana peel, a wool item (socks, cap, etc.), cigarette butt(s), disposable diaper(s), tin can(s), aluminum can(s), glass bottle(s), plastic holder(s) for a six-pack of soda cans, hard plastic items (water or juice bottles), a rubber tire, 11 printed cards or pages. Each page contains a single time period (e.g. 10-20 years), each page represents the number of years it takes for one of the pictured items to decompose

Leave No Trace Objective: To provide a visual and hands-on method exhibiting how long it takes for trash to decompose.

Directions: Distribute each of the pictures, one to each participant, or as many to each participant as necessary to distribute all of them, as evenly as possible. Distribute the time pages in a similar manner. Try to ensure that no person holds both a picture and its associated time page.

Then have the participants roam around trying to figure out what pictures match up with what time periods. As they make their matches, you can comment on their accuracy and have them try to correct any errors. See below for a list of the decomposition rates for common items:

Cigarette Butts------------------1 to 5 years

 Aluminum Can------------------80 to 100 years

Plastic 6-pack Holder----------100 years

Orange or Banana Peel---------Up to 2 years

Plastic Film Container----------20 to 30 years

Plastic Bags----------------------10 to 20 years

Glass Bottles---------------------1,000,000 years

Plastic Coated Paper------------5 years

Nylon Fabric---------------------30 to 40 years

Leather----------------------------1 to 5 years

Wool Socks----------------------1 to 5 years

Tin Cans--------------------------50 years

This activity gets the participants to talk to each other to figure out how long each item takes to decompose. When they finish, it would be nice to have them line up in order from shortest time to longest.

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.