Leave It Better Check List - Brevard North Carolina
Select Page
Adventure Guide Button

Transylvania County is over 50% public land and in 2020, we created the “Leave It Better” initiative to protect and preserve our pristine forests and waterways for future generations. We even have our very own forest steward roaming the county. “Trashsquatch,” a mythical forest dweller, formed out of litter left by visitors to his home, asks public land users to “Leave It Better” and make trash as difficult to find as he is. While you may not see him in the woods, “Trashsquatch” has become a popular mascot for the campaign. Be on the lookout around Brevard and Transylvania County for glimpses of him promoting this important campaign. The next time you venture out and see trash in our public lands or waterways, just ask yourself: What would Trashsquatch do?

Pick It Up.

Bring a trash bag and pick up not just what you packed in, but all that you see. Millions of pounds of trash are left behind in our public lands every year. Keep an eye out for litter and be sure to come prepared with gloves and trash bags to assist with safe collection.

Pitch In.

For every 10 hours you spend in the great outdoors, give one hour of service or make a donation to an organization that supports public lands. Balancing the amount of time spent enjoying the outdoors with time spent giving back will not only reduce your impact, but the impact of others. Find a local organization that focuses on an issue that resonates with you and volunteer or provide a donation to make a difference.

Prepare Yourself.

Educate yourself on local rules, safety regulations and trail policies before you visit public lands. Leaving it better starts before your visit. Prepare yourself by checking trail closures and weather on the day of your trip as well as packing your bag with the necessary gear to be safe and minimize your impact. Research to avoid crowded areas and explore new experiences off the beaten path.

Protect Habitats.

Avoid disturbing any natural habitats or wildlife. Any significant changes to natural habitats alters their ecology and endangers the lives of native species. Do not stack rocks, build dams or create any other unnecessary disturbances to nature and encourage others to do the same.

Politeness, Please.

Be courteous and patient with others you may encounter on the trail with a focus on being a shining example of your user group. There are a wide variety of activities enjoyed by visitors to public lands. Practicing trail courtesy and being mindful of best practices are vital to ensuring that everyone has an enjoyable experience. Be courteous and serve as a positive ambassador for your user group to minimize conflict.

Preach What You Practice.

Teach others to Leave It Better by being an advocate in person and on social media. Achieving a better future for our public lands starts with you, but sharing this philosophy with your friends and family will amplify your impact. Advocate for public lands while you’re out enjoying them. If someone sees you setting an example, it will motivate them to follow in your footsteps.

Our short new Leave It Better videos feature community experts on trails, waterways, and public lands. We’re grateful to Earl B. Hunter Jr. of Black Folks Camp Too, Jessica Whitmire of Headwaters Outfitters, and Kevin Bischoff, Superintendent of Gorges State Park, who have given their time and lent their voices to our latest Leave It Better effort. We hope everyone will not only follow the tips on our checklist, but also share these videos and principles with their friends and family.

We created a video series to show the need to Leave It Better in our woods and waterways. Learn
how Trashsquatch was formed, the long-lasting effect of plastic, and why lines and lures shouldn’t
be left behind in or around or waterways.

Be on the lookout for Trashsquatch throughout Transylvania County reminding residents and visitors alike to Leave it Better. Stop by the Visitor Center today at: 175 E. Main Street, Brevard NC, to receive a free sticker or poster when you tell the folks at the front desk, “I pledge to Leave it Better.” 



Leave It Better is an initiative of the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority and its sustainability program, Transylvania Always. Learn more about Transylvania Always here.

We also invite you to check out Transylvania Always’ “Be Waterfall Wise” program, which offers seven easy to follow tips that will help keep you and your family safe when you’re exploring “The Land of the Waterfalls.” Learn more about being waterfall wise here.

We are supporters of the Leave No Trace initiative and credit them for inspiring our own local messaging about good behavior when visiting public lands. Learn about their principles and more here.

​© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org