News & Updates
Leave No Trace Hosts Spotlight at Peninsula State Park
Door County is a verdant tongue of land that draws tourists annually by the millions and lies in the far north of Wisconsin, jutting out into lake Michigan. Wineries and quaint B&B’s abound, but this area is much more than just a quiet, weekend retreat. The stunning natural beauty of the landscape cannot be ignored. Visitors can wander among dense forests, swim in placid Green Bay, and explore the wave battered shores of Lake Michigan. The five state parks that huddle into this relatively small area offer excellent access to all this nature. In light of this unique environment and the large number of visitors it sees, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and the local tourism board, Destination Door Country, have realized that Leave No Trace must be a central part of experiencing all the area has to offer.
Most recently, this partnership took the form of a Leave No Trace Spotlight at Peninsula State Park led by a Subaru/Leave No Trace traveling team, stirring up community excitement and instilling Leave No Trace into the culture of the area. “We know Leave No Trace is the ethos of who we are, but we wanted to get locals and visitors excited about practicing Leave No Trace on the ground in our natural areas, especially in Peninsula State Park” says Morgan Rusnak, Destination Door County’s Community Engagement Manager. This is what Spotlights are all about. After an internal meeting with park management, we kicked the weekend off with an evening Spotlight Social at the park. Locals and visitors mingled around food trucks, cold drinks and educational Leave No Trace games, chatting with staff and volunteers about the Spotlight and how to care for this area as a whole.
On Saturday morning we held a Leave No Trace Pop-Up event under Eagle Tower, one of the most popular attractions in the region, where we educated over 300 people about how to practically care for the park during their visit that day by taking small actions such as brushing invasive species off of boots before and after visiting, hunting for micro-trash while exploring and showing respect to other people on multi-use trails. A Peninsula State Park Naturalist led guided hikes throughout the day, enthusiastically describing how the local ecosystem works and what individuals can do to contribute to its health. Later that evening, we joined the park’s Conservation Warden and an enthralled group of young campers for a lesson on building safe, sustainable campfires, the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, and some tasty s’mores.
We rounded out our time at Peninsula State Park by celebrating National Get Outdoors Day with a morning of stewardship, cleaning up litter, removing invasive species, and clearing brush as part of a new ADA accessible trail so that everyone who visits the park will be able to enjoy the scenic shoreline. “This was the first large-scale stewardship project we’ve had since the pandemic, and the Spotlight program has helped us rebuild our volunteer base with Friends of Peninsula State Park and new local volunteers. Our volunteers are excited to continue working on this ADA trail weekly on Workday Wednesdays.” says Krista Lutzke, the park’s Natural Resources Educator.
The momentum generated by the Spotlight will certainly continue long after the weekend’s conclusion. The partnership between Leave No Trace, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Destination Door County has formed a holistic, educational, stewardship-based approach to tourism and conservation, which will help to safeguard this special place for many years to come.
To learn more about Leave No Trace Spotlights visit https://lnt.org/our-work/protecting-parks/spotlights/
By the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Teams. For over 20 years these teams have provided tangible solutions to serious issues facing our outside spaces and reach over 15 million people every year. Learn more about the important work of our mobile education teams. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Thule, Fjällräven, The Coleman Company and Klean Kanteen.
Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together
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