Leave No Trace e-News                          February 2009
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Our Lucky Day

I've been in the mood for a little inspiration and a cluster of strangers have come to the rescue. Lately, an unusual number of calls, letters and visits from people wanting to help have made there way to Leave No Trace. These people - just like you and me - are so swayed by the relevance of Leave No Trace that are taking extraordinary, no-strings-attached measures to get it out there into the hands of those who need it most.

Take, for example, a recent letter from Dan Cox. "So cutting to the chase," he wrote, "my wife and I are on a journey to kayak the East Coast of the United States, from Lubec, Maine to Key West, Florida. A little crazy, yes, but exciting." On the phone call a few days later, Dan's wife, Bethany, described their plans to teach Leave No Trace along the way.

Could it be the year of pilgrimage or is this simply Leave No Trace at its best? I venture to suggest that a spirit of service and personal responsibility is in the air, and people understand, more than ever, the cumulative impact of their involvement. The program is at its best when people like Bethany and Dan hop out of their kayaks and share the program with the locals.

You could be next.

Susy Alkaitis
Deputy Director

eNews You Can Use
Dear Education Department:

apple coreOn a recent hike with a friend, we got into a discussion about throwing "biodegradables" such as apple cores, banana peels, etc. into the woods to be left for scavenging animals.

My take was that it is not a good practice but I guess my answer wasn't good enough. She threw an apple core in the woods anyway.

Wildlife Lover


Dear Wildlife Lover,

My first reaction to your friend would be to ask her, "Do you see any apple trees around here?" If you were walking through an apple orchard, it would more than likely be okay to discard an apple core in the area, as there are probably already many others already on the ground. In this situation, the apple orchard, wildlife in the area would likely be accustomed to apples as a source of food. However, many animals, particularly small mammals in your area, may not be used to eating apples.

The point is that apples and apple cores, or even oranges, hot dogs, banana peels, nuts, candy, chips, etc., are not native to most natural environments, and certainly are not thought of as suitable food for wildlife. Anything that we bring carry into the woods should come out of the woods with us. Otherwise it's simply trash. One apple core will not completely disrupt the local ecosystem, but litter is litter.

The biggest problem with improperly disposing of food waste is that it is ultimately harmful to wildlife.

Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters their natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. News headlines are often made when wildlife is attracted to human food. Bears, more than any other animal, get the most press for tearing into tents, raiding food caches, coolers, and cars in search of a meal. Generally, however, campers and hikers have to deal with less threatening, but often more annoying, rodents, raccoons, birds, etc. looking for a handout. These animals are a nuisance and can be vectors for disease, not to mention that their dependence on human food is a detriment to their own well-being. Human foods are harmful to wildlife because animals would otherwise forage and eat a nutritious diet derived from their natural environment.

Animals are adept opportunists. When offered the temptations of an untidy backcountry kitchen or a handout from a curious camper, they can overcome their natural wariness of humans. Aggressive or destructive behavior may follow, and in conflicts with humans, animals often lose. Prospects of an easy meal also lure wildlife into hazardous locales such as campsites and trailheads, roads and entry points where they are chased by dogs or hit by vehicles. They may also congregate in unnatural numbers, increasing stress and the spread of disease within their populations.

For these reasons, it's recommended that everything you pack in, be packed out. Apple cores and all.

The Education Department

My Backyard
etourLeave No Trace is Hiring!

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is seeking a dedicated, savvy, dynamic team of educators for a seasonal traveling position.

The Leave No Trace e-tour brings hands-on Leave No Trace demonstrations, interactive activities and general Leave No Trace education across the country from June through mid September. The e-tour provides basic Leave No Trace education programs that inspire youth and families to get outside while promoting responsible enjoyment of the outdoors.  Sponsored by the Coleman Company, the e-tour represents the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics as goodwill ambassadors.

Last year, the e-tour traveled to 26 states while working 45 event days and providing direct outreach to over 4,000 people. In 2009, the team will present special programs and activities specifically for kids in retail stores and summer camps across the country. Part time employment and travel will begin June 8th and run through September 14th 2009.  The e-tour will reach out to millions of individuals, promoting stewardship of the outdoors and responsible recreation practices. To learn more and apply, visit the e-tour job posting on our blog. 
Partnership Highlight

Motto:          "When Nature calls... Restop answers!"
Learn More: www.whennaturecalls.com

Why we love them: Restop helps educate people about the issues of human waste in the backcountry and provides a hygienic and safe means of disposing of human waste while playing outside - fishing, climbing, rafting, backpacking and hunting. Restop products are an ideal means of waste disposal above tree line, in high-use areas, in desert regions, river corridors, and anywhere else land manager's rules and regulations indicate packing out human waste.

What Restop does for the community: Restop products are an integral part of the outdoor recreation community.  The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers use them on their Trainer Courses across the country, Friends of Indian Creek freely distribute Restops to visitors to their climbing areas, and many river corridors require the use of Restop waste management products by permit holders.

It is not uncommon for visitors to increasingly encounter mandatory "pack it out" policies in parks and other public lands, such as Grand Teton National Park.  To facilitate proper waste disposal, parks such as Zion National Park, Inyo National Forest (Mt. Whitney) and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park will hand out Restops to backcountry permit holders.  

What Restop does for the environment:  Restop provides a safe, sanitary means to transport human waste from sensitive wilderness areas.  Restop 2, the solid waste bag, contains the odor as well as the waste, providing a user-friendly and pleasant means to "pack it out."  The bag contains a powder, a polymer/enzyme blend, which processes the waste so it is approved for trash disposal in all landfills.  Restop works with numerous National Parks, the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service Agencies, outfitters and guides, and retailers in order to save the integrity of wilderness...one poop at a time.

Where to find Restop: Looking to use Restop as a teaching tool during your next Awareness Workshop or Trainer Course?  Or, just want to dispose of waste properly on your next day out?  You can get your own at the Leave No Trace online store.  Members receive a 10% discount!

If you are interested in learning more about the Leave No Trace partnership program, please visit our Partners Page, or email Sara Close.  

Road Wisdom
Contributed by Kate Bullock and Tracy Howard
Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers

snowboardingBeat those Winter Blues!

Are the cold, short days of winter giving you reason after reason to stay indoors? Don't let the winter blues get you down. This is the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and see what sort of splendor Mother Nature has in store for you.

As Traveling Trainers, we have the opportunity to explore winter wonderlands across the country. Our favorite winter adrenaline rush is shredding the slopes on our snowboards. Nothing beats cruising knee-deep powder with a couple of your best buds. However, we are always excited to try new outdoor adventures. 

This upcoming Saturday, February 14, we will be attending Winter Trails Day in Estes Park, CO. This is a great opportunity to bundle up the family and hit the trails on some snowshoes. This sport combines a love for hiking and the need for fresh air during those cold winter months. One other adventure that we are looking to trying this winter is ice climbing. Picking your way up a frozen waterfall...Oooh, what a rush!

We would love to hear your sure fire ways of beating the wintertime blues. Tell us about your best winter day or favorite outdoor spot. Email us at kateandtracy@lnt.org and your story could land itself on the Traveling Trainer Blog.

Safe Travels...and Happy Winter Adventures
Kate and Tracy

Follow Kate & Tracy as they begin their
 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Season!

patches & pins. Save 20%

Some of you may have noticed the new Lapel Pin and Patch designs have arrived.  They are both available in three versions:
  • Outdoor Ethics
  • Trainer - for those that have completed a two day trainer course
  • Master Educator - for those that have completed a five day Master Educator Course. 
Both the Lapel Pins and Patches are now 30% off.

Get yours today at the Leave No Trace online store!

Offer Expires: March 1st, 2009.

Moved? Moving?
Changing things up?

Please keep your email and mailing addresses current!

is another step the Center is making toward a more consistent online communication for our community, in an effort to conserve resources and our planet!  Please help us by e-mailing info@LNT.org to update your records.