Leave It Better - Clean Up Crew - Brevard North Carolina
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Our “Leave It Better” campaign was developed to help residents and visitors better understand and actively reduce the negative effects mankind has on nature and wildlife. Built on the principles of “Leave No Trace,” our campaign encourages visitors to not only pack out their own trash but to pick up any other trash they see as a way to “Leave It Better” for future generations.

We have now taken this one step further with the “Clean-up Crew” program which makes it easy to get involved in this important mission. The overall goal of the program is to enable and incentivize local individuals, businesses, and organizations to host a clean up in our public lands and make this process as easy as possible. Explore Brevard will provide toolkits to volunteers and all the information needed to plan a safe clean-up event. Scroll down to learn more and sign up today!

Step One: STUDY UP

Get a crew together, select a location for your clean-up in any of the public lands or waterways in Transylvania County and complete any of the required permits. See below for information and resources for planning clean-up events in public lands.

Step Two: SIGN UP

Complete the sign-up form below for a free clean-up kit for your crew.

Step Three: SHOW UP

Pick up your free SylvanSport Hacky Pack at the Brevard/Transylvania Visitor Center at 175 E. Main St.  The toolkits are designed for 12-15 people, which is our recommended crew size.  The number of items can be adjusted if the crew is a little bit smaller or larger.  We ask that the safety vests and any unused items are returned so we can make this program as sustainable and waste-free as possible.  Enjoy the hacky pack as a gift and be sure to have your crew members redeem their token at the Brevard/Transylvania Visitor Center for a reusable ENO shopping bag or Brevard aluminum pint cup.

Inside the Clean-up kits you will find:

  • 1 SylvanSport Hacky Pack
  • 20 trash bags
  • 30 gloves
  • 1 sunscreen
  • 1 first aid kit (4 band-aids, 2 alcohol pads, 2 antibiotic creams)
  • 1 info sheet
  • 4 safety vests
  • 1 wooden token (per participant) to redeem for a reusable ENO shopping bag or Brevard aluminum pint cup

Step Four: CLEAN UP

Host a fun and effective clean-up. Review the tips with your crew that day to be sure they are informed and remind them to redeem their token for a “thank you” gift from Transylvania County Tourism for doing their part to “Leave It Better.”

Step Five: FOLLOW UP

Take photos of your clean-up and document the number of bags of trash collected. Share your photos on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags: #ileaveitbetter #brevardcleanupcrew #visitwaterfalls Tag your photos with @explorebrevard on Facebook or @explorebrevardnc on Instagram.

The group that collects the most bags of trash in 2021 will be awarded $2,500 toward a green initiative at their business/organization or otherwise completed by their group. See below for more information.

We want everyone to have fun and be safe. Please read these safety tips before picking up litter:

  1. WEAR sturdy work gloves in addition to compostable gloves.
  2. WEAR good walking shoes and dress for the weather.
  3. WEAR bright-colored clothing or a safety vest to be visible in the woods or on the sides of gravel roads.
  4. BRING a water bottle and apply sunscreen.
  5. FOLLOW social distancing guidelines. Wear a mask if you will come in close contact with others.
  6. PREPARE to pack out all trash collected and dispose of in the landfill.
  7. WATCH for traffic on roads and avoid paved roadside cleanup.
  8. WATCH for slick riverbanks.
  9. DON’T overfill or compact bags. Injuries from jagged or broken items may occur.
  10. ABIDE by all public land rules and regulations.
  11. PREPARE for people to mistake you for a park/forest ranger and to ask you general questions about the area.
  12. FOLLOW all waterfall safety rules.


Click any button below for detailed information on everything you need to know to conduct a clean up event in your selected public land or the French Broad River. You’ll find specific location information, permitting requirements, key contacts and much more.

DuPont State Recreational Forest

  • No permit required
  • Expect crowds, especially on the weekends and at most popular waterfalls and parking lots. Weekday early mornings and evenings are the best times for cleanups. 
  • Areas to focus on
    • Hooker Falls Parking lot and trail 
    • Visitors center parking lot and trailheads
    • High Falls Parking lot and Loop trail
    • Lake Imaging parking lot and trail
    • Guion Farm Parking lot and Wintergreen Falls Trail
  • It may be possible to dispose of trash at Hooker Falls or High Falls dumpster areas, but please plan on packing out all trash collected and disposing of it in the landfill/dump.
  • Friends of DuPont organize clean-ups.  


Gorges State Park

  • No permit required. 
  • If you need assistance with trail maps stop by the visitors center or call 828-966-9099 or you can email Ranger Skylar Hill at Skyler.hill@ncparks.gov
  • It may be possible to dispose of trash at Rainbow Falls dumpster area, but please plan on packing out all trash collected and disposing of it in the landfill/dump. 
  • Map of Gorges State Park
  • Suggested locations
    • Along 281 south near the park entrance is usually heavy with trash and we don’t get that area as much.
    • Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls trail and parking area
    • Bearwallow Falls trail and parking area
    • Frozen Creek entrance and parking area
    • Auger Hole trailhead and hike to Cane Break Trail


Pisgah National Forest

  • No permit required however, two forms must be completed. Download Form 1 Form 2.
  • Please contact Natalie Lester for more information.
  • Email: Natalie.Lester@usda.gov cell phone: (828)713-6569  NOTE: Avoid picking up trash along paved roads. 
  • The areas that need the most help are the areas of the forest that see the most visitation:

    All trailheads, gravel roads, parking lots, and water accesses.
  • Suggested locations
    • Sycamore Flats
    • Coontree
    • Cove Creek/Daniel Ridge area including the parking lot and FS Road 225 the gravel road beyond it 
    • FS Road 477 up to and past the horse stables
    • Shut In & Stillwater Picnic Areas
    • Black Balsam 


  • Weekdays, before 10 am, are the best times for trash pick up. 
  • Plan on packing out all trash collected. Trash services are intermittent during the offseason and frequently over-capacity within season. Please note your total volunteer hours spent in the Pisgah.


French Broad River

  • No permit required
  • Identify and avoid hazards: Look out for strainers (trees and debris buildups in the water)
  • Canoes are better than kayaks because they can haul more litter/trash
  • Life jackets (PFDs) must be worn
  • Wear sturdy gloves with a plastic or rubber-coated palm for safety and easy gripping when wet
  • Wear river shoes
  • Bring trash grabbers or long-handled bbq tongs to help pick up trash from a boat
  • Be prepared to pack out ALL  collected trash. No disposal sites at river take-outs
  • Bring a change of clothing in a dry bag
  • Steer away from fishermen, swimmers, and other boaters. 
  • Note: Trash can be dirty, rusty, slimy, and sometimes sharp. Use caution when handling to avoid cuts and abrasions. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help; don’t try to lift heavy objects alone.
  • Consider picking up trash at Champion Park, Hap Simpson Park, or any of the FB River put-ins and take-outs if you don’t feel comfortable retrieving trash from a boat. 

There is no local land management office for the French Broad River, however, the above information came from Headwaters Outfitters in Rosman and the Whitmires who have organized many river clean-ups in conjunction with Conserving Carolina.


Waterfall Information

Many of the 250 waterfalls in Transylvania County are on public lands. If you would like to do a clean up around the waterfalls be sure to follow our waterfall safety rules. If you are interested in adopting a waterfall and do a regular cleanup please see https://www.waterfallkeepersofnc.org/ for more information.

Leave It Better

Watch the videos below to learn about our Leave It Better mission.


Check this section for updates on total bags collected by our Clean-up Crews and a leaderboard on the top five participants. The leading participant at the end of the year will be awarded a $2,500 grant to be spent on a green initiative of their own.