Leave No Trace Gold Standard Sites

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has selected 10 public land recreation areas across the country demonstrating successful Leave No Trace ethics, showcasing strong organizational commitment to the promotion of outdoor skills, ethics, and stewardship that help preserve and protect their natural landscape for generations to come.

The new Gold Standard designation is part of The Center’s ‘Leave No Trace in Every Park’ initiative that recognizes outdoor spaces demonstrating the highest standard of practicing and promoting Leave No Trace ethics. The 10 areas named will now ultimately act as models for other public lands across the country to emulate.

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

The Center will look to award additional Gold Standard Sites in 2017 and will announce the Request for Proposal this summer. Stay tuned!