Why 'Leave No Trace'?

Nine out of ten people who visit the outdoors are uninformed about Leave No Trace or the importance of minimizing their impacts. With over 13 billion trips into the outdoors in the U.S. alone every year, people are causing significant preventable damage, and that damage is adding up. Leave No Trace is on the forefront of changing this troubling trend—the littered parks and damaged trails, the formidable impacts of fire, polluted waterways, damage to historic artifacts and serious wildlife issues.

Consider the facts:

  • Americans pay $2.1B to fight fires in parks and forests, almost 90% of which are caused by humans.
  • Wildlife in our parks are routinely relocated or euthanized due to conflicts with humans. The National Park Service cites human garbage as the origin of many of these unfortunate and unnecessary conflicts.
  • Grand Canyon National Park, alone, has $11M in trail maintenance needs, and more than $5M in critical trail work is needed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Leave No Trace organization is built upon the belief that if people do something, even something simple, to help take care of the outdoors that they cherish, we will all benefit as does the outdoors. Leave No Trace is a universal philosophy that can be part of any outdoor experience. The very nature of Leave No Trace lends itself well to fostering a cooperative spirit of stewardship.

How can you really Leave No Trace?

It’s impossible to leave absolutely no trace of your visit to the outdoors. However, we have set the bar high in terms of our values and outdoor ethics. Leave No Trace is not intended to be taken literally. Rather, it is a philosophy that guides us while we enjoy any outdoor pursuit. If all who enjoy the outdoors were to do what they could to minimize the unavoidable impacts (trampling, erosion, etc.) and prevent the avoidable impacts (properly dealing with human waste, properly storing food and trash from animals, sticking to durable ground, keeping human and other waste out of water sources, etc.) it would go a long way towards protecting the places we enjoy from recreational impacts. We view Leave No Trace as a spectrum – on one end there are many impacts, on the other end there are few. We encourage people to figure out where they fit into the spectrum – where they’re comfortable – and to do what they can to minimize their individual impacts. The primary goal of Leave No Trace is to prevent the avoidable impacts and to minimize the unavoidable impacts. By doing so we can protect and preserve both natural resources and the quality of recreational experiences. This can also minimize the need for restrictive management activities by land managers. We truly believe that if everyone did something, even something small, to minimize his or her impact on the out-of-doors, the result would be profound and lasting.

I want to use the Leave No Trace logo. Where do I get it and how can it be used?

Please reference Leave No Trace’s Brand Standards Guide to learn how the Leave No Trace logo, Seven Principles and other texts can be used.

How do I start a Leave No Trace program in my country?

Why doesn't Leave No Trace engage in lobbying or many activism-based activities?

Leave No Trace is an all-inclusive organization whose focus is education. The Leave No Trace organization remains neutral on most political issues in order to remain all-inclusive and true to our mission of education.

Where does your funding come from?

Leave No Trace is funded by a wide variety of sources, from individual members to companies in the outdoor industry. We’re constantly diversifying our funding base, ensuring that there are multiple options to donate and support the organization, including partnership, purchasing educational materials, course tuition, individual membership, grants and events.

Do you accept guest blogs?

No, not at this time.

How can I get involved with Leave No Trace in my state?

Contact your State Advocate or complete this volunteer registry to learn more about how you can support Leave No Trace efforts in your state.

Who can I contact to run a Leave No Trace training or represent Leave No Trace at my event?

For these types of requests, contact your State Advocate or request one of our Subaru/Leave No Trace Teams.

I am looking to run a Level 1 Instructor Course or Workshop. Where do I start?

What's the difference between becoming a member of Leave No Trace and making a donation?

Both donations and memberships provide direct support for Leave No Trace solutions that put the outdoors on the path to a healthy and sustainable future. In addition to this, memberships to Leave No Trace receive exclusive benefits and gifts such as discounts on hundreds of outdoor brands, a member t-shirt when you give $50 or more, 10% off Leave No Trace educational materials and more. See a full listing of member benefits here.

What does my Leave No Trace membership support?

For every dollar given to Leave No Trace, $0.83 goes directly towards providing cutting-edge, research-based critical education and programs for people in all outdoor environments. The remainder goes towards general administration needs and fundraising to ensure resources are always available to support the Leave No Trace mission.

How much does a membership to Leave No Trace cost?

Memberships start at just $25, with several other options available to support the mission.

How long does a Leave No Trace membership last?

There are two types of memberships — annual and monthly memberships.

Annual memberships begin on the date of your contribution and expire one year after your contribution is made.

Monthly Memberships last until they are canceled by the member, which can be done at any time by contacting [email protected].

Does my Leave No Trace membership renew automatically?

There are two types of memberships — annual and monthly memberships.

Annual memberships can be set to automatically renew yearly on the day you sign up. To do this check the “Please renew my membership automatically” box when completing the online membership form. Annual memberships can also be renewed manually through our website, or by phone or mail. Should you choose to manually renew, renewal notifications are sent out by mail and email starting two months in advance of your expiration date, unless you unsubscribe or opt-out of mailings.

Monthly memberships are reoccurring contributions that are automatically charged to your credit card every month on the day of the month that you sign up. For example, if you sign up on July 6th your card will be charged on the 6th of every month until you cancel.

Why should I become a Leave No Trace monthly member?

Becoming a monthly member ensures resources are always available to help. It is also one of the easiest and most convenient ways to give because you do not have to remember to renew every year. That means less stress in December! Plus, you can cancel anytime.

How do I cancel my Leave No Trace monthly membership or annual recurring membership?

Monthly memberships and automatically renewing annual memberships can be canceled any time by emailing [email protected] or calling 303-442-8222 x 105.

How do I update the credit card information associated with my monthly membership or annual recurring membership?

You can update your credit card information anytime by calling 303-442-8222 x 105.

What are the benefits of membership to Leave No Trace?

A membership to Leave No Trace comes with a variety of benefits from deals on your favorite outdoor brands to a subscription to Leave No Trace emails. Plus, receive exclusive Leave No Trace swag and a special gift when you give $50 or more. See a full listing of member benefits here.

How do I access my Leave No Trace member benefits?

If you are already a member, you can access your member benefits by visiting the Member Resources page. You will need the password that was emailed to you when you joined or renewed your membership. If you have any trouble logging in contact [email protected].

Is my gift to Leave No Trace tax-deductible?

Yes, your gift — whether it is a membership or donation — is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law, minus any gifts or services that you receive in exchange.

What is Leave No Trace's EIN number?

Leave No Trace is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (EIN # 84-1303335).

What does Leave No Trace do with my data?

Leave No Trace respects the privacy of our donors. We invite you to review our donor privacy statement here.

Request a Leave No Trace program for your park or group

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