October 23, 2013 (Boulder, CO): The recent vandalism in Goblin Valley State Park near Green River, Utah, underscores both the ongoing challenge facing lands enjoyed for recreation in the U.S., and the increasing need for outdoor enthusiasts to learn about and practice Leave No Trace.
Managed by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Leave No Trace is the mostly widely used educational minimum-impact visitor education program in use in parks and protected areas in the country. The intent of the Leave No Trace program is to educate people who spend time in the outdoors about the nature of their recreational impacts with the goal of resource protection.
While Leave No Trace is utilized by parks and protected areas throughout the country, many people are still unfamiliar with the ethic. According to Dana Watts, Executive Director for the Center for Outdoor Ethics, “Many impacts from recreation are cumulative over time and aren’t as apparent as what occurred in Goblin Valley. Couple this with the sheer number of people spending time in the outdoors, and the need for Leave No Trace is clear.”
Watts notes that there are over one billion outdoor visits annually in the U.S. “With that much recreation comes some level of impact. Sadly, the impact that occurred recently in Goblin Valley was permanent, and impacts such as these occur daily across the country.”
The primary objective of the Leave No Trace program is to help people understand how impacts to the landscape are created and how those impacts can be minimized. From diminished water quality to impacts on wildlife to vandalism of cultural and archeological resources, Leave No Trace works to instill outdoor skills and ethics to all outdoor enthusiasts. “Because we are all trying to enjoy a finite resource, anyone who enjoys the outdoors should do whatever they can to reduce both the social and resource impacts in the outdoors by following simple Leave No Trace guidelines,” said Watts.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles can be practiced individually and implemented in larger group course education – even at an elementary school level through the Center’s PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids) program. The seven Principles include:
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Dispose of Waste Properly
Leave What You Find
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
About the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics protects the environment by teaching people of all ages how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. It is the most widely accepted outdoor ethics program used on public lands. As the leader in sustainable recreation practices, the Center trains a nation of outdoor advocates to put Leave No Trace principles into action. Through targeted education, research and outreach, the Center seeks to ensure the long-term health of our natural world. www.LNT.org.