Level 2 Course Providers

As the only organizations authorized to run the five-day Level 2 Instructor Course, these eleven organizations are leaders in providing Leave No Trace education and training.

Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK)

ADK is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advocating for New York State’s wild lands and waters while also teaching people how to enjoy natural places responsibly. Since 1922, the organization has offered people opportunities to stay and play in as well as protect, discover, and explore the outdoors. Today, ADK has 30,000 members in 27 chapters statewide and is served by a professional, year-round staff. The organization is recognized as a vital voice in the commitment to environmental stewardship and ethical outdoor recreation in New York State.

American Alpine Institute (AAI)

The American Alpine Institute’s mission is “to provide world-class mountain education, exceptional guided experiences and to inspire natural preservation.” The Institute provides education, skills development and guiding in, rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing and snowboarding, avalanche awareness, technical rescue, backpacking, wilderness skills and Leave No Trace. With operations in eight different states, the Institute is widely regarded as a leader in the development and distribution of comprehensive technical mountain education, both for recreationalists, as well as for backcountry professionals.

Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC)

Founded in Boston in 1876 the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) is America’s oldest conservation and recreation organization. With more than 100,000 members, advocates, and supporters in the Northeast and beyond, AMC has a mission to promote the protection, enjoyment and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region. We believe that these natural resources have intrinsic worth and also provide recreational opportunities, spiritual renewal, and ecological and economic health for the region. Because successful conservation depends on active engagement with the outdoors, we encourage people to experience, learn about, appreciate and understand the natural world.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC)

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is the private, non-profit organization responsible for management and protection of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) and its resources. Founded in 1925 (as the Appalachian Trail Conference), the organization works closely with the National Park Service and 31 affiliated volunteer trail clubs, with the mission of preserving and managing the A.T. to ensure that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow and for centuries to come. The ATC operates across the 14 Trail states, from Maine to Georgia, preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy.

Backcountry Horsemen of California

Objectives and Purpose: To improve and promote the use, care and development of trails, campsites, streams and meadows. To advocate good trail manners and educate users on good Ethics and Leave No Trace principles. To promote the conservation and utilization of our back country resources with livestock transportation. To keep the back country trails open to horseman on all public lands. To assist in keeping public informed of the vital need for a clean back country. To support the interest of horseman and those persons interested in recreational stock us and enjoying the back country.

Scouts of America

The Scouts of America is one of the largest Scouting organizations in the world and one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with more than 2.4 million youth participants and nearly one million adult volunteers. The Scouts of America’s goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations. For younger members, the Scout method is part of the program to instill typical Scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship, and outdoors skills, through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics, and hiking.

Landmark Learning

Landmark Learning is a school for persons who work and play in the outdoors. We operate year-round from from a 40 acre campus in the mountains of western North Carolina, just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since 1996, Landmark Learning has focused on certification trainings that promote national standards and industry best practices. Landmark Learning has been active in Leave No Trace education since 1999. We believe that outdoors ethics are a cornerstone in all that we teach.

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

Founded in 1965, NOLS is a multifaceted wilderness school that supports thousands of students each year all over the world. NOLS is the original provider of Leave No Trace Master Educator courses and currently offers both front and backcountry options that include backpacking and sea kayaking. NOLS offers 2 hours of college credit and the ability to use AmeriCorps awards. Custom courses are available worldwide. Partial scholarships are available through both the Center and NOLS.

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI)

Getting safely up and down mountains is just the beginning of the story at Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI). RMI has built a five-decade long legacy of safe, successful, and enjoyable mountaineering adventures. At RMI we strive to make every adventure a meaningful and enjoyable experience, attain our climbing objective while maintaining a responsible margin of safety, and to climb responsibly and to protect and preserve all natural and cultural resources in the places we travel. We are privileged to have the opportunity to work and play within the fragile alpine environment. With this opportunity comes the responsibility of being a good steward of the resource and to pass along our knowledge so that others may continue to enjoy the outdoors as we do.

Solid Rock Outdoor Ministeries (SROM)

SROM is a premier Christ-centered deep wilderness ministry. SROM’s mission, in the context of technical deep wilderness expeditions, is to birth and grow mature Christ followers; sons and daughters of light who become loving and loyal disciples who make disciples of all nations.Our programming activities include backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, and back country living. SROM programming occurs in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and desert southwest with courses in locations such as the Wind River Wilderness and Grand Canyon National Park. SROM is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education and an official course provider for the Leave No Trace Level 2 Instructor Course.

Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center

Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center has been providing outdoor education and recreation therapy since 1952. Designated by the National Park Service as a National Environmental Education Landmark in 1972, the Center provides educational opportunities, camps, and trainings on a year-round basis. Just south of Carbondale, IL our 3100-acre retreat center provides great access to the Shawnee National Forest, Giant City State Park, and Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. We provide front and backcountry Level 2 Instructor course options that include backpacking and flatwater canoeing. Custom courses are available.

Request for Proposal: Become a Leave No Trace Level 2 Instructor Course Provider

Leave No Trace requests proposals from organizations interested in becoming official, approved providers of the Leave No Trace Level 2 Instructor Course, as described in this Request for Proposal (RFP).

Interested parties must submit a letter of intent to: JD Tanner, [email protected], Director of Education and Training, Leave No Trace, P.O. Box 997, Boulder, CO 80306.

The letter of intent should be no more than two pages. They should include a brief organizational background, an explanation of why the organization desires to provide the Level 2 Instructor Courses, and a description of the course’s target audience(s).

The following phases will be conducted to complete this RFP process:

  • Phase I: Reply to this RFP with a letter of intent.
  • Phase II: If requested by Leave No Trace, submit a complete proposal fulfilling the requirements outlined in section E of this document.
  • Phase III: Follow up with additional information as requested by Leave No Trace.
  • Phase IV: Pending approval by Leave No Trace, offer Leave No Trace Level 2 Instructor Courses for five years.

Leave No Trace was established nearly 30 years ago as a non-profit organization to promote
responsible enjoyment of the outdoors. Leave No Trace partners — land management agencies,
the outdoor industry, outdoor enthusiasts groups, colleges, universities, non-profit organizations,
youth-serving organizations, and other affiliates — support a unified, consistent minimum impact
program based on the best available scientific research and outdoor expertise. A principal goal is
the continued expansion of a training structure that instills outdoor ethics and provides a deep
understanding of and teaches skills necessary for enjoying the outdoors responsibly.
Development and dissemination of high-quality Leave No Trace training programs are critical to
the overall success of Leave No Trace.

The Leave No Trace Level 2 Instructor Course is a core and vital component of the Leave No Trace
training structure. The course delivers comprehensive Leave No Trace skills, ethics, and teaching
practices to participants. The Level 2 Instructor Course is the most in-depth course offered by the
organization. The course produces a cadre of highly knowledgeable Leave No Trace educators
who can disseminate Leave No Trace information and provide effective outreach and training to
diverse audiences.

The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) was the first provider of the Level 2 Instructor
Course (formerly the Master Educator Course), beginning in 1991. Since then, Leave No Trace has
approved additional course providers to offer courses. If any existing providers wish to continue
offering Courses, they must compete in this RFP process to renew their status as authorized
Course Providers. Leave No Trace will authorize the selected training institution(s) to offer the
Level 2 Instructor Course for five years beginning in 2025.

Nearly 12,000 individuals have been trained as Level 2 Instructors, and approximately 600 new
course participants each year. The Level 2 Instructor Course is intended for guides, outdoor
educators, land agency personnel, scout leaders, trail club members, outfitters, outdoor
instructors, university and college faculty, outdoor industry staff, and other outdoor enthusiasts
who will train others in Leave No Trace. Course costs are not directly controlled by Leave No
Trace. Still, there is a strong desire to keep training costs affordable for the broadest possible
audience (current prices range from $650-$850 for the five-day course, depending on provider
and location). In summary, prospective institutions should be aware that compared to other
outdoor courses or guided trips, the market for this course is specific, but there is room for
growth. The primary motivation for offering this course should be a strong organizational
commitment to Leave No Trace and promoting outdoor skills, ethics, and stewardship.

The Level 2 Instructor Course requires a minimum of four eight-hour days. Three nights camping
in the backcountry and/or front country settings is encouraged but is not required. Providers are
given the flexibility to offer courses in a variety of settings. A mix of course offerings by the
potential Provider is desired. However, most providers offer a five-day/four-night course.
Minimum standards and related supporting information relevant to the Level 2 Instructor Course
and this RFP are included in the National Leave No Trace Training Guidelines, which are available

Institutions or organizations interested in receiving authorization to provide the Leave No Trace
Level 2 Instructor Course must have verifiable experience in successfully teaching and instructing
Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics, including minimum impact travel and camping
techniques. Interested institutions or organizations must also have an existing cadre of Leave No
Trace Level 2 Instructors (4–12) on staff who have experience facilitating Leave No Trace Level 1
Courses and who can provide high-quality training. Such organizations must be current partners
of Leave No Trace (http://lnt.org/join/business), possess adequate liability insurance and risk
management systems to cover course-related accidents and mishaps and obtain all necessary
permits and permissions for operating on public or other lands. Additionally, any newly selected
course providers that are not returning providers must undergo a
Leave No Trace Level 3
Instructor Course at their expense (approximately $9000) to ensure a qualified pool of
instructors. Participants for this course must already be Level 2 Instructors.

Following the letter of intent, a proposal may be requested by Leave No Trace, which shall
include the following:

  1. A sample Level 2 Instructor Course agenda that describes the course content, course progression, support materials, and a curriculum that meets the requirements outlined in the National Leave No Trace Training Guidelines.
  2. Organizational qualifications, including organization purpose, risk management procedures, relevant accreditations/certifications, universal access considerations, structure, size, history of training in backcountry settings, and staff qualifications (including staff knowledge ofLeave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics, safety and first aid training, as well as expertise as educators).
  3. Organizational experience in various regions, environments, and with various types of outdoor activities (e.g., backpacking, climbing, sea kayaking, stock use, rafting, frontcountry, canoeing, etc.).
  4. Proof of liability insurance and permissions to operate on public or other lands (Level 2 Instructor Courses require appropriate permits to operate on public lands).
  5. Specific proposed course location(s), course size, student/staff ratios, tentative dates (or seasons), and estimated costs per participant.
  6. A comprehensive plan for Leave No Trace course marketing and ensuring student enrollment (and participant screening process).
  7. Describe any provided field equipment, facilities, meals, or field rations.

Proposal reviews will be conducted by Leave No Trace’s RFP Task Force, and final decisions will be
made by Leave No Trace. Selections will be based on the degree to which interested organizations meet or exceed the core requirements and the anticipated need for additional Leave No Trace training institutions.

Approved Course Providers will be periodically reviewed and audited (course quality audit) by
Leave No Trace for evaluations of quality and compliance. Authorization as a Level 2 Instructor
Course Provider may be revoked if such reviews are unfavorable and adequate corrections are
not implemented.

Leave No Trace is committed to equal opportunity and treatment for all qualified individuals.
For all Level 2 Instructor Courses, authorized providers agree not to unlawfully discriminate
based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, religion, marital status,
veteran status, disability, or any other factors that have no bearing on one’s ability to
participate in a Level 2 Instructor Course 

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