Leave No Trace Gold Standard Sites

Nominations are open from February 12th through March 31st and can be submitted by land managers in the areas where they are working. 

To date, 10 areas across the country hold the Gold Standard Site designation. The Center will designate 10 more areas — national parks, national forests, grasslands and waterways, wildlife refuges, land trusts, county and city managed areas or any other public lands – by July 2018. By receiving this highest standard of recognition these areas become model sites, encouraging other public lands to ensure that minimum-impact education is part of everyone’s experience when spending time outdoors.

The following areas were designated in 2016:

  1. San Juan Islands National Monument – Lopez Island, Washington
  2. Knob Noster State Park – Knob Noster, Missouri
  3. New River Gorge National River – Glen Jean, West Virginia
  4. Isle Royale National Park – Houghton, Michigan
  5. Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area – Sand Springs, Georgia
  6. Coconino National Forest – Flagstaff, Arizona
  7. Cheaha State Park – Delta, Alabama
  8. Olympic National Park – Port Angelese, Washington
  9. Shenandoah National Park – Luray, Virginia
  10. Acadia National Park - Bar Harbor, ME

Each of these areas underwent a rigorous application process to be named a Gold Standard Site and were ultimately selected based on combinations of the following criteria:

  • A history of successfully implementing Leave No Trace Outdoor skills and ethics into management, programming, outreach, and education efforts at their sites
  • Staff formally trained in Leave No Trace
  • Leave No Trace signage posted throughout trailheads, visitor centers, and campgrounds as well as Leave No Trace language and messaging included in pamphlets, maps, and other distributed materials for visitors
  • Offer Leave No Trace interpretative programs including ranger talks, campfire events and trail outings to its visitors