Seven Principles

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...

Take Me to the Beach

Oregon Inlet, NC: Hurricane season is here with a force this year. Unprecedented energies have pummeled coastal environments in the southern United States and secluded islands of the Atlantic. These storms, so devastating to locals and the environment, significantly alter the lay of the land. With each storm surge and the flooding which follows, coastal ecosystems are proving their vital role in aiding to protect people, homes, and shoreline habitats. Sand dunes are most effective barriers from winds and flooding when left intact. Footprints, although small individually,...

20,000 Calories a Day: How to Help Wildlife in Autumn

Yosemite National Park, CA: Ever feel really hungry after a long hike? Playing outside does burn a lot of calories, but did you know that black bears need to consume 20,000 calories a day in late summer and early fall to put on enough weight to survive the winter? That would be a lot of camp stove dinners for us! Fall is prime hiking and camping season for us, but, for the wildlife who live where we play, it’s crunch time, both literally (many animals chow down in autumn to prepare for winter) and figuratively (many animals don’t have a lot of time before the first snow). Heading outside this...

Guffey Gorge is Instagram Famous

Guffey, CO: Guffey Gorge (a.k.a. Paradise Cove), a 2017 Leave No Trace Hot Spot, is Instagram famous. Once a local secret, this 80-acre gorge, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, boasts a gorgeous waterfall that tumbles from steep granite canyon walls. Tucked 1/2 mile down an unassuming trailhead, social media attention has turned this sleepy spot into a hotbed of activity. On sunny July weekends, up to 1,000 visitors a day make the steep hike into the Gorge to enjoy a swimming hole at the base of the falls that’s not much bigger or deeper than your average backyard...

A Local Gem in Danger

New Paltz, NY: The Peekamoose Blue Hole has become an Internet celebrity. Now selected, as a 2017 Leave No Trace Hot Spot , the Blue Hole needs a new type of fame, one that recognizes its fragile ecology. This geologic formation is wild in nature and unfortunately; its fame has exponentially increased the number of visitors and the impacts, which follow them. With anywhere from 600-2000 visitors in a weekend the ¾ acre footprint of the Blue Hole has seen its fair share of impacts. Soil erosion, trampled vegetation (including small plants, flowers, and primarily mosses),...

Leave No Trace Skills Series: How to Plan a Backcountry Trip

Boulder, CO: Planning an overnight backcountry trip and not sure where to start? Or just want to make sure you’re minimizing your impacts in the backcountry? Either way, check out the video below for pro tips on what to do before you hit the dusty (or sandy, snowy or rocky) trail. Being prepared for your backcountry experience will make your trip more fun, safer and will keep you from damaging your favorite outdoor places. 1. Fancy equipment won’t help you much if you don’t know how to use it. Check for outdoor skills classes at your local outdoor store, college or...

Take These Tips to the Alpine

Franconia Notch, NH: This unique environment is home to hundreds of species of plants, insects, lichens, and wildlife. The organisms living here are only found in this elevation and environment, making them incredibly rare. When hikers visit during the day or on a backpacking trip, each step we take in the alpine creates the potential for big impacts to sensitive vegetation. It is up to each and every one of us to do our part while visiting alpine zones. Below are the essential tips and tricks to know for your next adventure in the mountains. Plan Ahead and Prepare...

Having The (Pooping in the Woods) Talk with Your Kids

Indianapolis, IN: As children get older, they seek out ways to assert their independence: taking responsibility for different parts of their lives, consulting friends rather than parents for advice, and, sometimes, taking the easy way instead of the right way out of situations. For outdoors-loving families, one of the ways kids assert themselves - and at a young age - is taking care of bathroom requirements on their own. While it's easy to do with the toilets they're used to, on trails and trips where there are no toilets, it can be much easier to form bad habits, especially...

Five Great Leave No Trace Educational Resources

Boulder, CO: We believe Leave No Trace should be part of every child’s educational experience. In fact, that’s the motivation behind our Leave No Trace for Every Kid initiative. While the Traveling Trainers reach thousands of kids each year with direct Leave No Trace education, we know that parents, teachers, scout leaders, camp staff, and everyone with kids in his or her life can play a pivotal role in helping them develop an outdoor ethic. While on the road, we are often asked for our favorite Leave No Trace educational materials, so we’ve compiled a list of resources for...

Would You Invite Yourself Back? Leave No Trace at Festivals

Coeur D’Alene, ID : Love a festival? Us too! Music, dancing, food, fun and friends…what’s not to like? Well…maybe a few things. Bringing thousands of people together can have negative impacts on the land, wildlife, and on visitors and locals. But, with a bit of planning and knowledge, festival fun doesn’t have to keep you from being on your best Leave No Trace behavior! Check out this video for easy things everyone can do to Leave No Trace at festivals, then read on for even more tips and tricks. 1. An easy way to create less waste at festivals is to arrive with less waste...

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