Many of the areas where we love to spend time outdoors are impacted by recreational use, some more severely than others. The cause of the impact is not generally malicious intent to do harm to the environment; rather it is most commonly a lack of knowledge or skills.
The end result, however, is usually the same:
Litter, dog poop, invasive species, habituated wildlife, trail and campsite erosion, water sources polluted with human wastes, names carved in trees, filthy campfire rings, cigarette butts along a trail, damaged cultural and historic sites, toilet paper “flowers” around campsites, pets chasing wildlife – the list goes on and on.
These impacted areas, or “Leave No Trace Hot Spots,“ can benefit from increased awareness about how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. If we know the consequences of our actions and the ways to minimize our individual and cumulative impacts, we can all go a long way towards protecting the places we cherish for future generations.
Building on the success of the 2011 Hot Spot program, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics actively seeks to make a difference across the country for these Leave No Trace Hot Spots. Through outreach, education, training, signage, educational materials, consulting and local collaboration, the Center aims to work with motivated individuals, groups, non-profits and governmental agencies to effectively use the Leave No Trace program to reduce impacts on lands used by the public for recreation.
The Center intends to do the following:
- Accept nominations from individuals, groups, non-profits, partners, members and governmental agencies for areas – Leave No Trace Hot Spots – that have recreation-related impacts that could be successfully mitigated through effective Leave No Trace programming.
- Nominations will be accepted on a rolling basis, with two Hot Spot being chosen per year, with additional "warm" spot designations possible.
- For chosen Hot Spots, the Center will work with the nominator to determine the scope of the impact, the relevant partners for collaboration, and effective and creative solutions for reducing the impacts occurring in the area.
- Chosen Hot Spots will receive some or all of the following: expert consultation on solutions and program implementation, training, educational materials, visits from the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, creation of locally-tailored programs to meet site-specific needs, volunteer support and overall assistance in putting the Leave No Trace program into action.
How to nominate an area as a Leave No Trace Hot Spot
The Center requires the following information on the nomination form:
• Name of the individual and/or organization
• List of impacts that are occurring as a result of recreation
• List of potential partners in the local area who would be well suited to collaboration on project efforts
• Intended outcomes of the project efforts
• Description of the potential reach of the project efforts and who will benefit
• Nominator(s) history with the Leave No Trace program
• Nominations MUST include either photographs or video of the area (both preferred). Nominations submitted without photos or video will not be accepted.
If your area is not chosen as a Leave No Trace Hot Spot, the Center can still provide information and ideas on mitigating recreational impact in your area.
The Center intends to measure success of efforts undertaken at chosen Leave No Trace Hot Spots using the following criteria:
• Measureable improvement in on-the-ground conditions
• Engaging a large number of volunteers to support efforts
• Enlisting new partners/members to get involved in the area
• Building sustainable relationships and programs that perpetuate effective Leave No Trace programming
For questions about the program or for more specific information, please contact hotspots@LNT.org, call 1.800.332.4100 or visit www.LNT.org