Leave no trace, Bigfoot’s been doing it for years!
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has been teaching us how to limit our impact on natural areas for years, too. Like Bigfoot, we should leave no evidence behind when we’re enjoying front or backcountry areas.
The Bigfoot Challenge is an easy way to practice responsibility in the outdoors by committing to:
- Teach a child or a friend the importance of not feeding wildlife.
- Lead by example by picking up trash on a trail or at a local park.
- Join Leave No Trace and put your money where your heart is.
- Be prepared by bringing reusable bags for shopping.
- Pack it out by cleaning up after your dog.
Leave No Trace isn’t about rules and regulations, it is about protecting the natural places we love from the impact we cause through loving those places, sometimes a little too much. The mission of the Leave No Trace Center is
to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships.
Some of the ways we can be responsible are outlined by the 7 Principles of Outdoor Ethics- Plan Ahead and Prepare, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave It As You Find It, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, Be Considerate of Other Visitors.
Each year, the four teams of Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers spend about 250 days living out of their Subaru hybrid cars and camping in both front and backcountry areas teaching everyone from full time park personnel to little kids about respecting nature. This year, a team came to Little Rock to lead a weekend long course designed to train new leaders in the area. Each year the Leave No Trace Center accepts nominations for natural areas around the country that are being impacted by heavy recreational use and would benefit from programs encouraging protection and recovery. In 2015, 12 “hot spots” out of the many nominations were chosen for visits from Leave No Trace teams. Hot Spots were named to get support for community driven projects to help rehabilitate public areas and to educate the public to prevent further deterioration. Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock earned Hot Spot designation this year due to the increasing public use of the park and the amount of damage all the love the park gets is causing. A big part of protecting our public lands is educating people about proper conduct. There will always be people who think that throwing down trash, painting graffiti and blazing new trail is okay. It’s up to the rest of us to do what we can to pick up the slack and to support programs, like Leave No Trace, that spread the word. You can join Leave No Trace for as little as $20 as a student.