Leave it Better
As you venture forth into our woods and waterways during the Year of the Trail, we invite you to learn more about our “Leave It Better” program. Based on the national “Leave No Trace” principles, “Leave It Better” is designed to inspire explorers of our bountiful natural wonders to leave the land and water better than they found it. This easy-to-follow six-step checklist is something you can put into practice anywhere you roam. Happy trails!
Pick It Up.
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 donate 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 also 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.
Leaving it better starts before your visit. Educate yourself on local rules, safety regulations, and trail policies before you visit public lands. Prepare yourself by checking trail closures and weather on the day of your trip. Pack 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 endanger 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.
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. 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.
And speaking of footsteps…we have our very own forest steward roaming our county. Maybe you’ll see him…or maybe you won’t. But just remember that Trashsquatch is ever vigilant and a constant reminder of how you should put your best foot forward when you’re in the woods. You can get a glimpse of Trashsquatch, along with some amazing facts about how long discarded plastic takes to decompose (try 450 years), by checking out our Leave It Better page.