Most Recent Blogs

Feb 26, 2015

Read about students from Western Kentucky University and the inclusion of Leave No Trace in their Outdoor Leadership Program curriculum.  

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Feb 24, 2015

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ: Are you interested in becoming a Master Educator, but cannot afford the course? The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has scholarships available through the generous support of our Partners Deuter and Outdoor Research.

This past month we met a woman who teaches for a community college and also guides in the Grand Canyon. She was a recipient of our Master Educator Scholarship and attended a National Outdoor Leadership School ME course in the Grand Canyon. She was gracious and very appreciative of the experience she had thanks to the scholarship. Thanks to her receiving the scholarship she is putting on multiple Trainers Courses and lots of awareness workshops in her community.  

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"Living here in East Tennessee amidst some of the most beautiful mountains and rivers in the South, the Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics message is vitally important to all of us. The beauty of these hills and rivers depend on us to maintain and protect."  - Wayne Hannah, Master Educator Course Scholarship Recipient 

Eligibility: Applicants should be registered for a Master Educator Course within the same calendar year as their scholarship deadline.  Note: Due to the already low cost of Master Educator Courses offered through the BSA, applicants of BSA courses are not eligible for scholarship dollars.


Master Educator Scholarships are designed to provide partial course tuition to individuals enrolled in an approved Master Educator Course. Scholarships cover up to half of course tuition and do not include travel costs or other related expenses.

Consideration is given to those individuals demonstrating a need for Leave No Trace education in their region as well as those who have specific Leave No Trace related outreach/educational goals upon course completion.


•   March 1, 2015

•   May 1, 2015

•   July 1, 2015

The Center will respond to all scholarship requests after their respective deadlines. 

Use the following link to apply for the scholarship.

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 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, Coleman, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool.

Feb 23, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park, California: Dogs are not allowed off leash or unaccompanied in Joshua Tree National Park. In Joshua Tree, dogs are confined to roads and campgrounds and may not go on trails or into the backcountry.  These restrictions are commonly found at almost all National Parks and across the board in most other parks, with a few exceptions. These restrictions are nothing new, since the National Park Service has had dog restrictions since the 1920s and 1930s.  


Joshua Tree National Park has its share of impacts associated with unrestrained dogs. In 2002 dogs from the local community attacked and killed bighorn sheep and desert tortoises have been found with chew marks on them from. Even if a dog is on leash it can still have an impact on wildlife, due to their threatening presence. Wildlife is use to fleeing or being put on alert when a member of the canine family is in the area. According to the National Park Service, wildlife will become use to a human or horse being present in its’ territory, but not a dog. Wildlife are especially vulnerable during mating season, when they are with their young, harsh environmental conditions, and when in rut.


According to R.A. MacArthur et al. (1999), which studied how bighorn sheep reacted to a human approaching them from a roadside, a ridge, and with a dog from the road indicated that the presence of a dog resulted in the most significant reaction from the sheep. Fleeing and milling where strongest in the presence of the dog. In Dr. Steve Herrero’s study titled, Bear Attack, the presence of a dog near a female bear and her cub increased the likely hood of an attack to the dog and the dog owner. Dogs not only pose a threat to wildlife, but also other domesticated animals. The National Parks service has certain areas where horses are allowed for both visitors use and use by either the park or the concessioners using it. The presence of an unpredictable dog can spook horses leading to injury to potentially the rider, horse, the dog, and the owner. Not to mention that even humans don’t always like dogs and can be scared when they are confronted with a dog that they are either not expecting or is not on leash.


As sweet and as lovable as some dogs can be, their owners can be the exception. Unfortunately, even if there are rules and regulations in place by the land management agency, that is no guarantee that people will always follow the policies. In a study done by the Angeles National Forest in California, researches found that even on trails where dogs are allowed if they are leashed, 90% of the dogs were off leash. Dog waste is another issue were dog owners ignore the rules and regulations. On the popular Sanitas Valley Trail in Boulder, Colorado, 1,492 piles of dog feces were found in one month despite the rule to pick up after your pet. 


Last but definitely not least, dogs can transmit diseases to wildlife and people through their waste if it is not properly disposed of. Parvovirus is not only present in domesticated dogs, but can be transmitted to other canines as well. In Glacier National Park, Montana, parvovirus was spread from dogs to wolf-pup populations leading to death amongst the wolves.  

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 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, Coleman, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool.


Tom Chester “Effects of Dogs on Wildlife, 2003.

Feb 22, 2015

Hueco Tanks State Park, TX: Just off the beaten path and east of El Paso is the beautiful and interesting Hueco Tanks State Park. Upon our first visit we discovered a fascinating history and culture in a geologically unique area. So get ready for 7 awesome things you didn’t know about Hueco Tanks State Park.

Image Source: Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Facebook

1. Hueco is not the same as Waco – In this case, “hueco,” still pronounced “whey-coe,” is a natural rock basin where rainwater collects. These cracks and pockets hold rainwater for days even weeks depending on the location and size. The park gets it name from the thousands of these present on-site. In the desert environment, these pools made life possible for the Native Americans who lived here.

Image Source: Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Website

2.This park is home to thousands of pictographs. – Throughout the past 10,000 years the Hueco Tanks area has been home to many people. Clues about their past and stories about their lifestyles are left on the walls in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs. A multitude of images appear including animals, figures with large eyes, and an incredibly large amount of masks. In fact, it is one of the largest groupings in North America.

Image Source: Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Facebook

3.The infamous boulders are millions of years old. –  Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, the park consists of three mountains. These mountains were formed around 35 million years ago. Their formation is the result of a mass of hot magma pushed upward and then cooled under a layer of limestone. Since then, the forms have changed and altered as the limestone wears down from wind and rain, creating the sculpted rock that is there today.


4.World-class bouldering can be accessed throughout the park. - While you need a guide to access some areas in the park, North Mountain is self guided with only 70 permits giving out daily. The park is also home to the Hueco Rock Rodeo, which just held its 22nd bouldering competition attracting professionals including Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson.

5.Throughout the years over 200 species of birds have been recorded at Hueco Tanks. –Around 44 species may breed here, including the prairie falcon, burrowing owl, white-throated swift, ash-throated flycatcher, blue grosbeak and Scott’s oriole. Many wading birds, waterfowl and shorebirds stop at the park during migration periods. Migratory songbirds spend time here in the spring and fall. More than 20 sparrow species overwinter at Hueco Tanks.

6.Conflict happens. With avid birders, hikers, and climbers all sharing such a special place, conflict is bound to happen. Throughout the years park staff and visitors from various recreation communities have not always seen eye to eye. However, groups like the Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition, Access Fund, and American Alpine Club have all worked within the area to help all users learn how to enjoy the park responsibly.


7.YOU can make a difference at Hueco Tanks State Park. Pictographs, petroglyphs, artifacts, and the living organisms in the huecos are all part of the spirit of Hueco Tanks. Protecting them is largely in the hands of the visitors. The Climbers of Hueco Tanks Co. has establish a climbing coalition to help climbers care for their climbs while also preserving and caring for the park. Their ethics for the park can be found online. Also check with park information and stay up to date on park closures. And as always, remember to leave no trace!

Until next time,

Court and Nick

Leave No Trace’s Courtney and Nick Bierschbach 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, Coleman, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool.