Leave No Trace designates Fourmile as first 2012 Hot Spot

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics selects the Fourmile Area near Buena Vista, CO as this year’s first Hot Spot, putting a check on excessive recreational impacts.

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has selected the Fourmile Area near Buena Vista, Colorado as a Leave No Trace Hot Spot. Near both Denver and Colorado Springs, Fourmile is one of the most heavily used areas in central Colorado and recreation-­â€related impacts are significant and growing.

Impacts at campsites such as campfire scars, tree-­â€cutting, and expansion of denuded sites as well as excessive trash and human waste have become major issues at Fourmile. Also, areas scarred and eroded by off-­â€trail travel are still in the process of recovery. In response to the request of local land managers and volunteers, the Fourmile Area has been designated as a 2012 Leave No Trace Hot Spot.

Located in northern Chaffee County, the 100,000-­â€acre Fourmile Area offers ample outdoor recreation such as camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, ATV and motorcycle trails, and wildlife viewing. In partnership with the local volunteer-­â€ based Friends of Fourmile, the USDA Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and several other key stakeholders, the Leave Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics will mitigate the growing impacts there by implementing an effective Leave No Trace program there.

Currently in its third year, the Leave No Trace Hot Spots initiative raises awareness about natural areas around the country facing the threat of irreversible environmental damage. As part of the initiative, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics works with volunteers, nonprofit organizations, friends groups and governmental agencies to reduce the impact of recreational activities in the selected Hot Spot area. With local collaboration, this goal is achieved through community outreach, classroom and field education sessions, training, signage and distribution of educational materials.

Components of the Hot Spot include Hot Spot include Leave No Trace training for key agency staff and volunteers, developing Fourmile-­â€specific Leave No Trace information, hosting Leave No Trace community-­â€based event to raise awareness, a service/learning project to mitigate existing recreation-­â€related damage, and providing consultation on best management practices for minimizing future impacts in the Fourmile Area.

“This is an important initiative on many levels,” according to Dana Watts, Leave No Trace’s Executive Director. “The Center’s long partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, as well as the popularity of Fourmile, make this a perfect fit for extensive Leave No Trace education, outreach and training.”

For more information on the 2012 Hot Spots initiative, as well as ways to get involved, visit http://www.lnt.org/01_community/hotspots.php.

About the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people of all ages how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, and 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 relevant and targeted education, research and outreach, the Center seeks to ensure the long-­â€term health of our natural world. www.LNT.org.