Hot Spot

Kern River

Bakersfield, CA

The Kern River stretches 165 miles through the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The river is one of California’s most pristine watersheds and home to the state’s three native heritage trout — the Kern River Trout, Little Kern Golden, and the Golden Trout. The Kern River attracts over half a million visitors a year with numbers rising each year. This increase has become a growing concern for the river with an increase in related impacts including various water resource impacts, graffiti and defacing of natural objects, and trash and human waste scattered throughout campsites. In 2016, the Traveling Trainers executed a week of targeted Leave No Trace education for community members in the Kern River Valley. In 2017, Leave No Trace returned to the valley to continue to strengthen the area’s Leave No Trace presence by reaching locals, as well as members of Keepers of the Kern and the Kern River Conservancy who were unable to attend the Leave No Trace workshops the year before.

During this Hot Spot, we furthered efforts to protect 165 miles of the Kern River, educated 213 recreational visitors, hosted a stakeholder workshop on Authority of the Resource

Solution

Leave No Trace hosted a workshop for members of the public, Kern River Conservancy volunteers and members of Keepers of the Kern. The workshop was focused not only on the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, but also how these individuals could best communicate Leave No Trace practices to the public, using a technique called Authority of the Resource. This communication technique works to change negative recreation -related behaviors by helping visitors understand how recreation activities can have negative consequences on our outdoor resources. The Traveling Trainers helped participants practice this technique using examples of behaviors that are causing negative impacts in the Kern River Valley. Leave NO Trace also spent time educating attendees at the Annual Isabella Lake Fishing Derby. The fishermen who attended this event are members of one of the biggest recreation groups that visit the Kern River. In three days on-site, the team reached over 200 people with Leave No Trace education.

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