Earlier this year the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics selected its first Hot Spot of the year, the Fourmile Area near Buena Vista, Colorado. Near both Denver and Colorado Springs, Fourmile is one of the most heavily used areas in central Colorado and recreation-related impacts are significant and growing. Impacts at campsites such as campfire scars, tree-cutting, and expansion of denuded sites as well as excessive trash and human waste have become major issues at Fourmile. Also, areas scarred and eroded by off-trail travel are still in the process of recovery. In response to the request of local land managers and volunteers, the Fourmile Area has been designated as a 2012 Leave No Trace Hot Spot.
Located in northern Chaffee County, the 100,000-acre Fourmile Area offers ample outdoor recreation such as camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, ATV and motorcycle trails, and wildlife viewing. In partnership with the local volunteer-based Friends of Fourmile, the USDA Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and several other key stakeholders, the Leave Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics will mitigate the growing impacts there by implementing an effective Leave No Trace program.
Components of the Hot Spot include Leave No Trace training for key agency staff and volunteers, developing Fourmile-specific Leave No Trace information, hosting a Leave No Trace community-based event to raise awareness, a service/learning project to mitigate existing recreation-related damage, and providing consultation on best management practices for minimizing future impacts in the Fourmile Area.
In late April Leave No Trace Center staff will travel to Buena Vista to offer back to back workshops for local youth and for volunteers and federal agency land managers. The goal for these outreach and training sessions is to equip the community with Leave No Trace skills and ethics, as well as techniques for effectively sharing Leave No Trace with outdoor enthusiasts who spend time in Fourmile.
For more information on the Hot Spot Program or to nominate an area, visit: http://lnt.org/01_community/hotspots.php