Seven Principles

Wilderness Words: Humus

Littleton, CO: Let's talk about humus. Humus is the dark organic material in fertile soils, full of microbes that can break down human waste. It's the perfect environment if you need to dig a cathole. Hummus, on the other hand, is a Middle Eastern chickpea spread. It's not the right environment for digging a cathole. Learn more about the difference between humus and hummus in the video below. Leave No Trace's Joe Besl and Joe Creaghead are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to...

Our 5 Most Common Litter Sightings

Elkhart, IN: Living on the road and traveling campground to campground, we unfortunately see a great deal of litter. Whether we are in the mountains of New Hampshire or the beaches of North Carolina, there are a few types of trash we always find. Can you guess what the five most common types of trash we see are? 1. Orange Peels Orange peels can take as long as two years to decompose. There is a common misconception that “natural trash” such as orange peels, banana peels, apple cores, and shells from nuts and seeds are okay to leave behind on the trail, in campgrounds, or in...

Would You Drink It?

Ithaca, New York: Public lands are a massive source of drinking water in the United States. 180 million Americans get their drinking water from National Forest lands alone. Not only are we drinking this water, wildlife and vegetation depend on it as well. Drinking is not the only use for these water sources; they are also the places we love to hike, camp, paddle, and play on. To keep our water sources clean, we need to be mindful of what we are putting into them while we are there. There are many products that we use while recreating that can contaminate water when used too...

3 Tips for Protecting Sea Turtles

Hampton, VA: Going to the beach this summer? You may not know it, but the months of May through early October are prime sea turtle nesting season in North America. Right now, there may be a mama turtle laying a nest of over 100 little eggs on a beach near you. Check out our video and blog below for three easy things you can do to help protect these beautiful creatures! Tip #1: Pack up your stuff and throw away trash - It's easy for your things to get away from you on a windy day on the beach, and it might seem convenient to leave your beach chair or sun shade out on the sand...

Bigfoot, reporting live from the Girl Scout Jamboree

Flagstaff, Arizona-- Big news on Bigfoot! Our favorite furry spokes-monster turned up at the Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scout Jamboree last month. Here he is, reporting live for Channel 7, on the seven principles of Leave No Trace. Leave No Trace's Joe Besl and Joe Creaghead are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest...

What are we even doing here? A reflection on the value of Leave No Trace

Lansing, Michigan - Folks frequently raise various issues when we introduce them to what we do with Leave No Trace: “Shouldn’t you be trying to eliminate plastic?” “Residents of Flint don’t have access to clean drinking water.” “What are you doing about the opening of our public lands to extraction?” As an environmental ethics organization, the wide variety of environmental ethics issues are laid at our feet, many of which are serious and urgent issues. We respond by acknowledging the importance of dealing with single-use plastics, addressing social injustice, preserving public land for...

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...

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...

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!...

Pages