News & Updates

New Study Demonstrates Measurable Results of Teaching Leave No Trace

Mark Eller - November 13, 2020

A newly published study in a peer-reviewed scientific journal demonstrates that teaching Leave No Traces creates significant and measurable protections for natural areas. The study is included in the November edition of the Journal of Interpretation Research.

View the full study here:

Leave No Trace Communication: Effectiveness Based on Assessments of Resource Conditions

The research focused on measuring “the efficacy of different Leave No Trace (LNT) communication interventions designed to persuade forest visitors to practice low-impact camping behaviors.” Three categories of destructive campsite behaviors—littering, tree damage, and surface disposal of human waste—were evaluated, along with three styles of Leave No Trace communication techniques. The researchers concluded that impacts were measurably reduced when Leave No Trace was shared with campers.

Ben Lawhon, the Center’s Director of Education and Research, praised the research. “It’s an excellent paper that demonstrates an actual change in conditions after a Leave No Trace intervention,” said Lawhon. He notes that the research focused on interventions by uniformed ranger staff, but the implications are clear for other situations where Leave No Trace is shared through person-to-person interactions.

“When people who practice Leave No Trace tell others about the ways we can all reduce our impacts, we know that natural areas will benefit,” says Lawhon. “This research adds to the body of scientific literature that demonstrates the powerful effect of the Center’s work.”

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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