“Leave It Better” And Be Like Trashsquatch
We love Brevard and Transylvania County. And we know that you do, too. That’s why we introduced our “Leave It Better” initiative several years ago. It has been the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority’s (TCTDA) most ambitious and wide-ranging effort to make a profound difference when it comes to protecting the natural resources that bring so much joy and relaxation to visitors.
The TCTDA sustainability committee, Transylvania Always, inspired by the “Leave No Trace” principles, developed the “Leave It Better” campaign. Each year, millions of pounds of garbage are left behind in America’s forests, streams and rivers as visitors enjoy public lands. The “Leave It Better” initiative is designed to educate and encourage people to take responsibility for protecting and preserving these fragile natural assets. Transylvania County is over 50% public land, and is home to Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Headwaters State Forest, and Gorges State Park. With the Transylvania Always “Leave It Better” campaign, the TCTDA hopes the public continues to help keep these public lands beautiful and accessible to everyone for years to come.
The TCTDA’s Transylvania Always committee has its very own forest steward roaming our county. Trashsquatch, a mythical forest dweller, developed 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 this forest steward promoting this important campaign.
You can be a part of the “Leave It Better” campaign by leaving the environment better than you found it. It’s quite easy to do. Our six tips are easy to remember, easy to follow and easy to share!
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.
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.
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.
Avoid disturbing any natural habitats or wildlife. Any significant changes to natural habitats alter 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.
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.
Be on the lookout around Brevard and Transylvania County for glimpses of our forest steward promoting the “Leave It Better” campaign. You can even stop by the Visitor Center in Downtown Brevard to take a photo with a life size cutout of our 7 foot mascot! For more information on “Leave It Better” and to learn about our legendary mascot, Trashsquatch, visit here.