Places We've Shaped

Leave No Trace in Colorado

Susy Alkaitis - December 4, 2018

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics works nationally and internationally, teaching people how to protect nature and minimize their impacts. Our reach is broad, but we are grateful to be based in Colorado, home to some of the most inspiring landscapes you will ever encounter. Here’s how Leave No Trace works to protect our backyard.

Hot Spots in Colorado

Since 2012, nine Colorado outdoor destinations—Fourmile Canyon, Mt. Bierstadt, San Juan National Forest, Conundrum Hot Springs, Guffey Cove, South Colony Lakes, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Mt. Sneffels Wilderness: Blue Lakes, and the Monarch Crest Trail—have received unique, site-specific training, consulting and service projects to reverse heavy recreational impacts. Two new Colorado areas—West Maroon Trailhead and Chatfield State Park—will benefit from Hot Spots in 2019.

Connecting with Colorado Kids

Long-standing Leave No Trace partner Avid4 Adventure reaches thousands of young people in Colorado through inspiring summer camps and education programs. In May, Avid4 Adventure became the first camp in the nation to earn the Leave No Trace Youth Program Accreditation. This means that Avid4 Adventure is providing high-level programming that weaves outdoor ethics and stewardship behavior into outdoor activities in a camp setting—an ideal environment for kids to build an affinity for nature. 

Volunteer Events and Inspiration

Fifty volunteers removed trash from the Platte River corridor in downtown Denver during an October clean-up—just one example of our in-state volunteerism. Our volunteers picked up nearly 2,000 pounds of waste, including pulling two shopping carts from the river.

Sustainable Colorado Tourism

Leave No Trace and the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) continue to encourage sustainable tourism in the state. Leave No Trace and CTO recently released a “Are You Colo-Ready?” brochure along with an animated video and quiz. You’ll find these resources at (which receives more than 6 million annual visits) and a list of customized “Care for Colorado Principles” to help travelers learn to enjoy Colorado’s outdoors responsibly.

Effective Local Partnerships

The change to the way Colorado connects with tourists seems to be resonating with other stakeholders too—the Gant Resort in Aspen has signed on with Leave No Trace to help curb environmental impacts at popular tourist spots in the Roaring Fork Valley. Many more collaborations like this are on the way. 

Studying Colorado’s Natural Areas

Colorado-based research sheds light on ethical behavior in outdoors, and provides insight for preserving our beloved natural resources. From analyzing rock climbers’ attitudes in Rocky Mountain National Park to strategies for dealing with pet waste in Colorado-based Open Space and Mountain Parks, the Leave No Trace education team continues to conduct important research on the serious issues facing Colorado’s outdoors.

Stand with Leave No Trace this Colorado Gives Day by making a donation to support Colorado’s public lands.




Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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