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.
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.
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.
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.
Brevard, North Carolina is surrounded by magnificent scenery and unparalleled natural features: iconic forests, ageless rivers, granite monoliths, and dramatic waterfalls. Just over half of our county is public land and we’re proud to share those resources with people from all over the world who have traveled here to experience its magic and wonder.
“Leave It Better” is designed to inspire explorers of these natural wonders to leave the land and water better than they found them. Modeled after the Leave No Trace principles, “Leave It Better” encourages folks to follow a six-step checklist when venturing into our public lands and waterways.
Below, you’ll also learn more about our “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. 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!
A special thank you to Transylvania County Solid Waste for providing trash and recyclables for the project.
Find out how you can make a difference by signing up for our 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. 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 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 a $2,500 grant toward a green initiative at their business/organization or otherwise completed by their group. See below for more information.