Education

Campfire Tips

For some campers, a campfire is essential for a campout. A campfire provides light, heat, smores, and can also be an inspiring sight on a campout. Leave No Trace is not against fires in the backcountry or frontcountry. Leave No Trace recommends the responsible use of campfires, so people can enjoy them and to minimize campfire impacts. Thanks to warm fabrics, headlamps, and camp stoves, fires are not as necessary as they once were. There are a lot of ways to enjoy a campfire without leaving an impact on the land. Some options for a minimum impact fire are: to not have one if you do not need...

Free Leave No Trace Lesson Plans and Information!

Outdoor educators are always looking for new and interactive ways to teach Leave No Trace. On the Leave No Trace website, educators can use the Concepts and Plans for Teaching Leave No Trace link. These links provide information on how to setup the lesson, facilitate the lesson, and the follow up discussion. These quick and easy lesson plans help educators to teach a different Leave No Trace concept. Our Natural World Plan Ahead and Prepare Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces Pack it in, Pack it Out Leave What You Find Minimize Use and Impact of Fire Respect Wildlife Be Considerate of Other...

A Conversation on Ethics

What does the word 'ethic' mean to you?! The Leave No Trace program teaches skills to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly. More importantly though, Leave No Trace aims to impart an ethic - a compelling outdoor ethic that will hopefully guide those who enjoy the out of doors in making positive decisions. An ethic is defined in many ways. The dictionary lends us this definition: a theory or system of moral values. As Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, we have heard several definitions of the word 'ethic'. Some are more suitable than others and some are completely right on. Here are...

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...

Kanarra in the Coal Mine

KANAB, UTAH-- The Joes started the year in Southern Utah, which seemed like another planet compared to our Midwestern roots. Slot canyons are wild, y’all! Immediately after hiking part of Buckskin Gulch, we stopped at a Kanab coffeeshop, picked up a copy of The Southern Utah Independent , and saw a story that caught our eyes. Local land managers had imposed fees on a similar slot canyon just 50 miles northwest. Why? Human waste! According to the SU Independent , Kanarra Falls Canyon has seen a significant uptick in users with an equivalent increase in impacts,...

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...

APRIL FOOL'S! New Cathole Depth Requirement Announced [NOT REALLY!]

[APRIL FOOL'S ! THIS IS NOT A REAL THING.] Boulder, Colorado: The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a leading provider of outdoor education resources, today announces new guidelines for digging catholes. While creating a cathole remains an ecologically sound technique for dealing with solid waste in outdoor settings, recent research shows that the previous recommendation for the depth of a cathole may be insufficient in some biomes. Photo: In accordance with Principle 3 , make sure that your cathole...

Coffee at Camp

Ocala, FL: Each new day brings the joy of a fresh brew of coffee. While camping we use different methods depending on the circumstance of our travel. This week’s video highlights our favorite 3 techniques for brewing up a warm cup o’ joe. Instant: A backpacking classic! Light, little waste, and getting tastier each year. Easily a go to for when our camping adventures require a light-weight solution. Pour Over: A personal favorite. You can get as fancy as you like with the brewing cone. We use a cheap $3.00 version found...

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...

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