Frontcountry

How to Leave No Trace in City Parks

Washington, DC.: Visiting your local city park is a great way to get outdoors and connect with nature. While these parks are a little different than visiting the backcountry, humans can still have a big impact on the landscape. There are some things you will want to take into consideration when visiting to help minimize those impacts. Consider the paths you take while walking around the park. When you can, stick to trails or boardwalks to avoid damaging non-durable vegetation. Try not to cut corners or take shortcuts, as these areas can be hot spots for impacts. When you do veer off the main...

Skills Series: Grey Water Disposal

Pocahontas State Park, Virginia: When camping, we produce wastewater, or “grey water,” whenever we wash ourselves or our clothing, clean our dishes or brush our teeth. Check out our video to learn more about how you can protect your favorite camping areas by properly disposing your grey water: Improper grey water disposal can pollute streams, harm wildlife and diminish other visitors’ experiences, so it’s important to learn how to deal with it properly. Even biodegradable soap can linger a long time in streams and lakes, and the food scraps from dirty dish water can attract wildlife, who...

Fees vs. Taxes: Feed the Iron Ranger

Loma Mar, California: Ever hiked right past that “Iron Ranger,” one of those tamper-resistant fee boxes found at a day-use area, trailhead, or campground, and thought, “I pay my taxes, don’t I?” It’s true that tax revenues help fund our public lands, but as a percentage of the federal budget, we’re not talking about a lot of your tax money. Let’s say your family paid $7,000 in federal taxes last year. According to our modest calculations, [1] you’ll have contributed $5.38 toward the National Parks’ budget and $8.49 toward the U.S. Forest Service budget. And, with wildfire suppression costs up...

Campfire Alternatives

Amboy, CA: We are about to blow your outdoors-loving world. Ready? You can have fun camping WITHOUT A CAMPFIRE. Yes, we mean it. And, for the record, Leave No Trace is not anti-campfire. We, too, grew up roasting s’mores and hot dogs over campfires; that is, if by roasting, you mean burning into oblivion. We’ve strummed guitars and had deep (okay,“deep”) discussions by flickering flames. So we’re not anti-campfire. What we are is pro-responsible campfire and, sometimes, that means choosing to go fire-free. Maybe there’s not enough fuel to make a fire without destroying vital habitat or food...

Parks are Taking Action to Protect Vital Resources

Ocala National Forest, FL: Trash is an eyesore when hitting the trails! While on the road, we have observed (and picked up) our fair share of other peoples throw away items. Our favorite trails, and public spaces don’t always have to look like a rubbish bin however. In fact, in Juniper Springs Recreation Area land managers have prohibited single use, disposable items on the popular Juniper Springs Run; and guess what? It works! This pristine paddle enters protected wilderness and is a very unique ecosystem with a gorgeous subtropical climate. It is because of these...

Successes, Great and Small

Page, AZ : So it's February. You've had a month to settle in to your New Year's Resolutions - and while they could be going great, some of us have inevitably done a bit of backsliding over the last month. Life has a way of getting in the way, and when you don't have the time you hoped you'd have, it's easiest to let the new things slide. It can be hard to feel unable to do as well as you'd like to at a new habit, whatever you're trying to do. But we're going to let you in on a little secret that's helped us out a lot: You don't have to be perfect. It's so...

Do You Suffer from FOPO?

Joshua Tree, CA : Do you or someone you know suffer from FOPO? Fear of packing out your toilet paper can be serious condition, but there are easy and effective ways of overcoming this challenge. Even if you don’t suffer from FOPO, check out this video for the best ways to deal with toilet paper in the outdoors. Why such a fuss about toilet paper left outdoors? Toilet paper can take several months (yes, months) to decompose when left outside. Who loves used toilet paper? Flies! Know what else flies love? Landing on your granola bar right before you take a BIG bite…yuck!...

Three Things You’ll Be Glad You Didn’t Forget on Your Next Winter Outing

Saranac Lake, NY: It’s the middle of a cold winter in much of the country. Here in New York, we have experienced mind-numbing cold, almost too cold to get outdoors while witnessing extreme temperatures down to -25ºF. With temperatures like these, planning ahead for winter outings is no joke, and a failure in the planning process has the potential to result in serious safety issues. To aid in your wintertime outings, here are three essential cold weather tips for your next pre-trip planning session. A Thermos of Hot Tea – Beyond warm clothing and planning for...

What Is a Durable Surface, Anyway?

Amicalola, Georgia: As avid hikers, we’re extremely grateful for the trails that lead us to amazing views, idyllic campsites and cool swimming holes. And while we might not get out to do trail work every weekend, we can help keep these trails in great shape by sticking to durable surfaces when we hike and play outside. But what exactly is a durable surface, anyway? Check out our video and blog below to learn more about making good decisions when you travel in our shared outdoor spaces. Sticking to designated trails is one of the most important and easiest things you can do...

Vamping, Zombie Hiking and Creepy Doll Heads: A Leave No Trace Halloween

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ: The Traveling Trainers get lots of interesting questions as we travel and teach all over the country, but things can get bizarre around Halloween. Been dying to know what zombies should do with body parts that fall off in the backcountry? Check out the video below to get the inside scoop on monster outdoor ethics. 1. Vlad the Vampire sleeps in the daytime, but we can follow his lead by setting up our coffins, um, we mean, tents on durable surfaces like bare dirt, sand, rock, or snow. The best camp/coffin sites are found, NOT made. Vlad’s case is also a good...

Pages