The Leave No Trace Recommendations for Getting Outside During Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly altering our daily life. It is important to be aware of the most current information from the CDC on these changes, and that goes for changes to the way we spend time outside as well. To keep ourselves, our communities, and our outdoor spaces safe and healthy during this time, please consider these recommendations. Where COVID-19 is...

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Panthertown Valley in Nantahala National Forest selected for recreation impact intervention

Panthertown Valley is one of 14 locations nationwide to be selected as a 2020 Leave No Trace Hot Spot. Hot Spots identify areas suffering from severe recreational impacts that can thrive again with Leave No Trace solutions. Each location receives a unique, site-specific blend of programs aimed at healthy and sustainable recovery. Since 2012, Leave No Trace has carried...

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Your Guide to Summer Hiking

Many of us hike all the time, and so going out for an afternoon jaunt is not cause for long, detailed preparation. We take a water bottle and hit the trails. However, for beginners and those planning hiking trips in new locations, it’s important to put safety first. “Depending on where you hike, if you’re not digging the trip because of weather or you feel tired,...

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How Stone Stacking Wreaks Havoc on National Parks

The stacks look like small shrines to mountain solitude, carefully balanced at the edge of a precipice. But when Zion National Park posted the photo, in September, the social-media coördinators for the park included a plea: “Please, enjoy the park but leave rocks and all natural objects in place.” The post noted the “curious but destructive practice” of building small...

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Come see forests and peaks, but clean up, New Zealand says

New Zealand has a message for the visitors drawn by its deep mossy forests, bubbling mud pools and magnificent peaks: clean up after yourselves. A new campaign called the “Tiaki Promise” is telling everybody traveling to the country to take responsibility for looking after it. The country wants visitors to pick up litter and otherwise take care of their surroundings so...

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A Leave No Trace Principles Refresher

Outdoor enthusiasts often prefer visiting different types of locations. Some love trekking high into the Appalachian Mountains, while others enjoy paddling through the river-carved rocks of the Southwest. Some may like to explore the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, while others enjoy ambling about aimlessly amid the grass-dotted dunes of the Gulf Coast. You like...

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How the Rise of Outdoor Influencers Is Affecting the Environment

In 1999, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (LNT) published seven leave no trace principles to “communicate the best available minimum impact guidance for enjoying the outdoors responsibly.” Today, these principles remain largely intact, despite calls for LNT to add responsible social media usage to the list. Groups like Hikers for an 8th Leave No Trace...

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Leave No Trace includes your hiking posts on social media

Social media plays a big role in many people’s lives, and it’s only natural that our love of sharing would extend to the outdoors. As more and more hikers are enjoying trails, it’s important to remember that social media can have an impact on how good hiking behavior is shared in the hiking community. The national Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics released a set...

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Planning a spring hike? Step carefully when it’s muddy so you don’t damage trails, habitat

The welcome arrival of spring weather will undoubtedly encourage outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage by hitting the many trails in their surrounding communities. It’s a great time of year to see colorful wildflowers blooming in the desert, before the arrival of rattlesnakes and the stifling summer heat, or spring ephemerals that blossom before the greening of the...

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Please Don’t Stack Rocks

“Cairns,” Gaelic for “heap of stones” seems to be the new creek art. Surely when you’ve been out on a streamside hike in recent years you’ve noticed a pile or two of someone’s creative intrusion. These temporary natural installations may be an expression of patience and balance to the ego of the builder, but to some naturalists who practice “Leave No...

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Pack it in, pack it out

Summer is the peak time for hiking all across the country. Not co­incidentally it also is the peak time for littering along trails. Hiking has always been a popular pastime in a country rich with majestic forests, breathtaking views and well-maintained trails to suit just about any taste and fitness level. But in recent years use of them has soared for a number of...

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‘I’ve never seen that much garbage’: pair of hikers carry out other people’s trash

Two British Columbia photographers stumbled upon the ugly side of Joffree Lakes Provincial Park. Vince Emond and Devin Francis spotted the equivalent of three large garbage bags full of chopsticks, empty sushi containers and red party cups behind a boulder right next to the trail leading to upper Joffree Lakes. “I’ve never seen that much garbage clearly...

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‘Grounds Keepers’ To Clean Litter From Major Trails Nationwide

Minnesota-based Granite Gear announced this month it will sponsor a crew of 15 dedicated “Leave No Trace” thru-hikers to clean up America’s hiking trails. The brand selected its Grounds Keepers team to build on the success of the 2015 and 2016 Packing It Out (PIO) initiatives, which removed more than 1,700 pounds of trash from the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails....

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Improving the Sustainability of Thru-Hiking

Thru-hikers discover how environmentally degrading backpacking can be. They find countless coolers and campsites full of trash, and eating individually wrapped packets of ramen and Pop-Tarts generates an uncomfortable amount of waste. Hikers have ideas for making long-distance backpacking more environmentally sound. Though it’s nearly impossible to avoid creating some...

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Loving the Wilderness to Death

Now a research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, stationed at Virginia Tech, Jeff Marion’s specialty is Recreation Ecology, meaning he studies visitor impact to protected natural areas and consults with land managers to make visitation sustainable. By his account, he is one of four such scientists actively conducting research in the U.S., and he has mentored...

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Brush Creek and Burnett Gap Trails, Cherokee National Forest

Usually when you come here you will find a cheerful description of a scenic hike that was fun, and that I recommend for your enjoyment. Instead, I am going to suggest that you stay away from this hike if you value your safety and security. The Brush Creek and Burnett Gap Trails are so terribly maintained as to make them virtually impassible. I’m sure at one time...

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Raven Cliff Falls Trail, Dismal Trail, Naturaland Trust Trail, Gum Gap Trail, Caesars Head State Park, South Carolina

Matthews Creek plunges more than 1,000 feet over Raven Cliff Falls into the gorge it has carved below Raven Cliff Mountain. One of a myriad of landmarks along the Blue Ridge Escarpment in Caesars Head State Park, this gorge offers a very challenging yet rewarding hike. Part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area that also includes Jones Gap State Park, this is the most...

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