Leave It Better | Brevard North Carolina
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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. 

Sadly, tons of garbage is left behind in our forests, rivers and streams every year. We invite you to join us in our new “Leave It Better” campaign as a way to better understand and help actively reduce negative effects on nature and wildlife. Built on the principles of “Leave No Trace,” our new 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.”

Below, you’ll also learn more about the seven principles of “Leave No Trace” and find links to volunteer so you can help protect our public lands for the next generation of outdoor lovers.  Together, we can make a real difference.

A special thank you to Transylvania County Solid Waste for providing trash and recyclables for the project.

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.

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.

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.

Find out how you can make a difference by signing up for our Clean-up Crew program or connecting with one of the organizations below.

In Transylvania County, we’re lucky to live amidst such natural splendor, in a place that never stops inspiring us. We are luckier still to have such an extraordinary, collaborative community of partners and the contributions they make toward creating sustainable public lands. Find out how you can make a difference by connecting with one of these organizations below. 


Back Country Horsemen of Pisgah
Perpetuating the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s backcountry and wilderness areas.

Blue Ridge Bicycle Club of Western North Carolina
Promoting healthy and fun lifestyles through cycling in Western North Carolina.

Carolina Climbers Coalition
The Carolina Climbers Coalition was established on January 16, 1995, with the purpose of preserving the natural environment, promoting safe climbing practices, and preserving climber’s access to climbing areas in North and South Carolina. Since 1995, the Carolina Climbers Coalition has grown and expanded. Today the CCC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. We still hold onto the motto of preserving, protecting, and expanding climbing opportunities, but that has taken a new meaning. The CCC has purchased or leased several significant climbing areas in North Carolina such as Laurel Knob, Rumbling Bald West Side Boulders, Buckeye Knob, Asheboro Boulders, Sauratown, Big Rock in South Carolina, as well as Hidden Valley in Virginia. We have a deep and lasting relationship with the public and private land managers of climbing in the Carolinas. Our ongoing goals are to expand public climbing access in our region, maintain and steward existing climbing areas, and work with land managers to promote sustainable climbing access.

Carolina Mountain Club
The oldest hiking and trail maintaining club in western North Carolina, this organization leads over 175 hikes a year, maintains over 400 miles of trail, and promotes conservation.

Conserving Carolina
Creating a regional network of permanently protected farms, forest, and natural land along the Blue Ridge Mountains, Foothills and Escarpment, Jocassee and Hickory Nut Gorges, and French Broad, North Pacolet, and Green River Watersheds. Conserving Carolina conserves, cares for, and connects people to the places you treasure most.

FIND Outdoors
Dedicated to helping the public better understand conservation through education and recreation.

Foothills Trail Conservancy
Volunteering with Foothills Trail Conservancy not only helps others appreciate all the trail has to offer but can also be personally rewarding. Whether spending time in nature doing trail maintenance or working with groups of visitors as a picnic organizer, there are many different ways to volunteer with the Foothills Trail community.  For more information about volunteering, please contact maintenance@foothillstrail.org.

Friends of Dupont Forest
Dedicated to protecting and enhancing DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Friends of Gorges State Park
A non-profit organization created to develop, encourage, and promote public awareness of Gorges State Park.

Mountain True
Championing resilient forests, clean waters, and healthy communities in western North Carolina through project advocacy, outreach, education, and on-the-ground projects.

NC Forest Service
Managing North Carolina’s public lands while ensuring adequate and quality forest resources on a sustainable basis.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Dedicated to conserving and sustaining the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input.

Pisgah Area SORBA
The largest nonprofit mountain biking organization in the southeast, the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association works with land managers to create and maintain trail systems for mountain bikers to enjoy. The organization promotes education, land access, trail preservation, and new trail development.

Pisgah Conservancy, The
Working to preserve the natural resources and scenic beauty of the Pisgah Ranger District and to enhance the recreational experience of all visitors to Pisgah.

Pisgah Trout Unlimited
Focusing on conservation, education, mentoring, and community outreach related to cold water streams in Henderson,
Transylvania and Polk counties.

River Link promotes the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River and its watershed as a place to live, learn, work and play.

Southern Highlands Reserve

Southern Highlands Reserve is a native plant arboretum and research center dedicated to sustaining the natural ecosystems of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Transylvania French Broad River Stewards
A non-profit volunteer citizen group whose purpose is to promote the natural and economic vitality of the Upper French Broad River in Transylvania County.

Transylvania Natural Resource Council
Dedicated to responsibly managing Transylvania County’s natural resources, promoting the environment, and educating the public on environmental issues.

NOTE: If you are an organization working to sustain and enhance our public lands or our rich creative heritage and would like to be included in this list, please contact Corey Gafnea at corey@explorebrevard.com.