Hot Spot

Travis County Parks

Travis County, TX

The Travis County Parks Department was first selected as a Hot Spot in 2015 to help the 27-park system incorporate Leave No Trace education throughout the agency. In 2017, the Traveling Trainers returned to Travis County to continue to strengthen the Leave No Trace programs within one of the county’s most popular parks, Milton Reimer’s Ranch. Reimer’s Ranch, in Dripping Springs, TX, is a destination for various types of outdoor enthusiasts. The 2,427 acre Reimer’s Ranch is the largest park managed by the Travis County Park’s Department and is a popular destination for combers, mountain bikers, and anglers. To continue to support Reimer’s Ranch in its journey towards recovery, the Leave No Trace team returned to the area to help park staff combat issues with pets off leash, pet waste, user conflicts, fed wildlife, and water resource impacts.

During this Hot Spot, we hosted 7 Leave No Trace workshops & events, made 2,260 public impressions across multiple sites, and engaged 11 stakeholder groups

Solution

Since the initial Hot Spot, Reimer’s Ranch has incorporated minimum impact messaging throughout various visitor touch points in the park, including signage, verbal communications with park staff, and area maps. A goal of this revisit was to help strengthen park efforts in minimizing user impacts and to educate the public on how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. This was done through a variety of targeted workshops and community outreach.

Traveling Trainers worked directly with local mountain bikers, climbers, members of the Travis County park police, local guides, and environmental educators to equip them with the tools to inform visitors and fellow recreationsists about the impacts at Reimer’s Ranch and Leave No Trace’s role in reducing those impacts. The team worked with these stakeholders to help them understand that explaining to visitors why Leave No Trace practices are important and effective can change visitor behavior without using heavy handed approaches such as issuing citations. Moving forward, Center staff are working to develop a custom training program that will enable Travis County Parks to continue their Leave nO Trace education efforts far beyond the Leave No Trace team’s time on-site.

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