Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Outdoors Are For Everyone

Leave No Trace is for all people and our organization recognizes that every person’s relationship with the outdoors and the natural world is unique and personal. We believe in and are committed to working towards a world in which everyone is safe and welcome in the outdoors, in which all are equally included, represented, and have equal access to cultivate the personal connection that can inspire people to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

"We strive to continually evolve as individuals, an organization, and as an ethic as we commit to working towards diversity, equity, and inclusion."
Dana Watts
Leave No Trace Executive Director

Current Initiatives & Ongoing Work

Leave No Trace staff and Board have developed in-depth goals to move the organization and the Leave No Trace Community forward in our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. In the spirit of this being a movement, not a moment, we acknowledge that these programs, initiatives, and goals will continue to evolve and grow over time.

  • There is an ongoing effort to update Leave No Trace curriculum materials to more clearly outline anti-racist and inclusive practices within outdoor ethics, and to evaluate and eliminate problematic/outdated terminology used in our publications. In 2023, Leave No Trace published an updated Skills and Ethics Guide to reflect these curriculum changes with input from DEI leaders such as Adaptive Adventures and Outward Bound Adventures. More information on the revisions process including a timeline of work can be found on this webpage.
  • Our Social Media Guidelines have been updated to make it explicit that Leave No Trace does not condone the use of any Leave No Trace materials or teachings to shame anyone in the outdoors, as everyone who recreates outdoors should feel respected and welcome. 
  • We are working with Spanish speakers and the Latino/a/x Community to translate our website, educational materials, and videos, some of which can be found here.
  • We have added land acknowledgments into public presentations and on social media posts to honor Indigenous Peoples and cultural ways of stewarding the land, practiced from time immemorial to this day.
  • An extensive JEDI reading and action information center is available for all staff members to learn from and add to. 
  • The staff takes part in JEDI related reading-group discussions once a month at an all-staff meeting to encourage internal discussion, awareness, and knowledge around the intersection of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion with outdoor recreation.
  • Staff participation in JEDI-related trainings are tracked on a yearly basis, and continuing education and participation in such trainings is greatly encouraged and financially supported by the organization. 
  • A staff working group was created to address and develop DEI values and core frameworks within the organization, which continue to be integrated and addressed in the organization’s ongoing Strategic Plan.
  • Executive Director, Dana Watts, signed the Outdoor Industry CEO Diversity Pledge in July of 2020 – continued efforts and reporting as part of the pledge are ongoing.
  • We are partnering with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association and tribal partners across the U.S. to develop targeted education campaigns that increase traveler awareness of how to minimize recreation and cultural impacts when visiting Tribal Lands. 
  • We are partnering with Black Folks Camp Too to establish several initiatives designed to create unity in the outdoors and bring people from all backgrounds outside. In 2021, the Unity Blaze Patch Project was launched, with funds raised going to scholarships for outdoor education opportunities for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • We partner with Region 9 of the United States Forest Service on their Urban Connections program to provide Leave No Trace and outdoor education to youth and families living in the major metropolitan areas throughout the region including Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Boston.
  • Leave No Trace launched the Spotlights program in 2023 with the goal of shining a spotlight on communities rising to meet conservation needs. In the first year, Leave No Trace will host 21 Spotlights around the country with partners such as Latino Outdoors, Friends of Anacostia Park, Cumberland River Compact and Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area.

Working to make outdoor spaces inclusive and accessible is fundamental to the core mission of Leave No Trace – to ensure a sustainable future for the outdoors and the planet for all people, present and future.

Leave No Trace acknowledges that the lands we enjoy through our outdoor activities are the traditional and ancestral lands of Indigenous People and First Nations. Our intention in this acknowledgment is to honor cultural ways of stewarding the land, practiced from ancient times to this day. Learn more about the ancestral caretakers and lands you recreate on.