Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

One of 10,000

Bears were on the loose
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Leave No Trace e-tour set up on just one lake this Monday -- Lake Bemidji. Visiting a beautiful town, the First City on the Mississippi, we got a chance to go to Lake Bemidji State Park to work with a stellar group of high school students. They were joining us from Voyageurs Expeditionary High School in town, a cool school where some of these students will later this year have the opportunity to take the Leave No Trace knowledge and skills they learned on Monday with them on trips to the Badlands of the Dakotas as well as Florida! Each one of the students we saw will get to be a leader of their peers with their newfound excitement for Leave No Trace!
Students exploring why they make the decisions they do
The students got to learn about all seven principles through discussions, games, and demonstrations. Coming from a variety of different outdoor experience levels, it was great to introduce them to everything from cat holes and human waste disposal issues to using a campstove to cook dinner. Throughout the day, the concept of Leave No Trace as a personal ethic and mindset weaved its way throughout each discussion. For the capstone of the day, they explored the considerations that go into their own decision making both in the outdoors and in the rest of their lives. During the activity, the students evaluated different factors in their decision making processes and considered why they do what they do. As they make individual decisions both in backcountry travel and everyday life, we hope they take what they learned from this activity with them!

Beautiful Lake Bemidji
While at Lake Bemidji State Park, we learned from our new friend and naturalist at the park John about an awesome program called I Can Camp! John, who came ready for the day with a Leave No Trace Bigfoot t-shirt on, participates in this program that Minnesota State Parks put on to help families who've never been camping before get outside, provides them with gear for a weekend, and teaches them techniques so they can have fun in the outdoors. Not only do they learn about how to put up a tent, cook outside, and start a fire, but they get to learn about Leave No Trace as well! It's a great way to educate, connect, and protect our favorite Minnesota wild places! We hope people take advantage of this awesome program, including the weekend at Lake Bemidji State Park coming up on June 8th!

On the Paul Bunyan Trail,

Quinn & Frank

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Minnesota Summertime

A Minnesota Sunset
While the e-tour rolls into Minnesota and the start of summer there, which can mean only one thing -- flat water canoeing. Canoeing is a great way to enjoy the lakes region of the U.S. and Canada, so if you're packing up and heading out to a chain of lakes this summer, here are a few Leave No Trace tips for your paddling:

  • Wear great boots -- Trails between lakes are, because of the fact that they go between lakes, much more likely to be muddy than usual trails. So make sure you have great boots so you can tromp right through that mud and protect the vegetation and habitat on either side of the trail.
  • Don't crash into shoreline -- Give both the landing and your boat a break by wet-foot portaging. In this technique, you slow the boat and use your feet to stop it before it crashes into rocks and landing, avoiding damaging them and keeping from making that big old crashing sound. Hop out in the water to unload the boat and throw it up on your shoulders for that hike over.
  • Check fire regulations -- Just because your around water doesn't mean you can get careless with your fire building. When you set off on a backcountry paddle, check the current fire regulations before you go and keep them in mind throughout the trek. If you start with a fire ban on your permit, it's a fire ban throughout your trip even if it rains or weather conditions change.
  • Check your boat for invasive species -- Just like it's important to clean your boots before a backpacking trip, if you're moving your boat from one area to another you should check it for invasive species. Check in with boat permitting offices for the most up-to-date information about invasives and stop aquatic hitchhikers!
We're excited to be in Minnesota right at the start of the season and are looking forward to getting some paddling in ourselves! So enjoy the North Woods & Leave No Trace!

Paddle or Portage?

Quinn & Frank

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bigfoot On Base

Bigfoot with Scouts at Minot Air Force Base!
Stopping in at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, the Leave No Trace e-tour got to talk about the outdoors with families who have hiked and camped everywhere from Germany to Japan to Kyrgyzstan. Working with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts, we got to talk about all the different principles of Leave No Trace, help cleanup a city park that had been hit by a flood last year, and share a cookout with Bigfoot himself! With an audience of all ages, we got to play some PEAK games including a heated game of Step On It! and an informative How Long Does it Last? The highlight of the evening was an awesome talk about how to poop outside, showing the group how to dig a 6 to 8 inch cathole and passing around a Go Anywhere Bag. Then everyone learned how long 200 feet really is when they had to race the distance while holding Clif Bars between their legs -- symbolizing when they had to go bad.

We had an awesome time with this group and think that everyone learned a lot about Leave No Trace. Without question, we loved our time being on base and wanted to thank all of these Air Force families for their service to our country! We want to thank the Air Force for welcoming the e-tour onto the base, it was a privilege to visit and share the Leave No Trace principles with the Scouting community on base. Thank you for all that you do, and we can't wait to get back up to North Dakota for another great event!

From the Barracks to the Backcountry,

Quinn & Frank

Monday, April 30, 2012

Open Places are Great Spaces

Little Missouri River in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The e-tour has made it to the Dakotas! Over the past 48 hours, we have traveled from Nebraska to South Dakota to the northern reaches of North Dakota, arriving in Minot today for a couple days of training. It's been a perfect way to experience National Parks Week, as we have been lucky enough to stop in two different National Parks in the Dakotas -- Wind Cave and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks. These treasures of the prairies, Black Hills, and badlands highlight both unique geology and incredible wildlife. One of the coolest aspects of the parks are the herds of wild bison or American Buffalo. Drawing on the legacy of President Teddy Roosevelt to protect the bison by reintroducing them to the prairies above Wind Cave in 1913 from the New York Zoological Society, these parks provide sanctuary to some of the most magnificent creatures on Earth.

Buffalo in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
We want to challenge you to think about the importance of wide open spaces like these. Often people look to preserve landscapes, but sometimes protecting wildlife can be even more crucial. When you think about the Leave No Trace Principle "Respect Wildlife," try and imagine it as an overall goal. More than just not feeding wildlife and avoiding encroachment upon their space, this principle also encompasses preserving their habitat for them when you go into the outdoors. Think about dead trees that are still standing, or snags, which can be used as homes for animals when collecting firewood. Think about campsite selection near water sources that can affect wildlife drinking behavior for days. Think about the role old animal bones or antlers play in wildlife nutrition as sources of calcium or vitamins and why that's an important reason to Leave What You Find. In the Dakotas, the majesty of the bison drive home the importance of Respecting Wildlife, but every time you go outside to explore you are visiting animals' habitats. So think about that next time you're on a hike, bike, drive, or paddle!

On a Buffalo,

Quinn & Frank

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Leave No Trace Education Near You - Where to find the Traveling Trainers in MAY

The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, as well as the Leave No Trace e-tour Team are conducting the following training events across the country in May. For more information about these or to attend, visit their calendars. We hope to see you on the road!

Want to host the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers for an event? REQUEST A VISIT FROM THE TRAVELING TRAINERS!

Team East May Calendar
Team West May Calendar
E-tour May Calendar

  • Craft Brewers Conference - San Diego
  • Cuyamaca Rancho State Park - Descanso
  • Conservation Camp - Buena Vista
  • Clean Up Green Up - Salida
  • Camp Chief Ouray - Winterpark
  • Hot Spot Outreach and Backyard Session - Buena Vista
  • SOS Outreach - Avon
  • Grand Trunk - Chicago
  • Hi-Cone - Chicago
  • REI Lincoln Park - Chicago

  • The North Face Role Model - Peabody
  • Girl Scouts - Douglas
  • Youth Leader Training - Bemidji
  • S.A.L.T 'Mines & Pines' - Crosby
  • Cuyuna Range Elementary School - Crosby
  • YMCA - St. Croix
  • Simley High School - Inver Grove Heights
  • Minnesota Master Naturalist Conference - Mankato
New Jersey:
  • Rampano Valley District Northern New Jersey BSA - Oakland
  • Cub Scout Pack 53 - Fords
New York:
  • The North Face Endurance Challenge - Bear Mountain
  • Boy Scout Troop 49 - Valley Falls
  • Coleman Factory Outlet - Lake George
North Dakota:
  • Devils Run State Park - Devils Run

Skills - Propane/Natural Gas Canister Disposal

Spring is in the air; time to start planning trips, sorting gear, and possibly, replacing old equipment.  But what are you supposed to do with those old, empty (and partially full) gas canisters for your stove?  It's not always as easy as tossing it into the trash. Here are some things to know when disposing of old gas canisters: 
  • Most fuel canisters are steel and can be recycled along with your Dr Pepper cans.  Just burn off any residual fuel and puncture empty canisters before recycling.  Crushing empty cans with big rocks seems to work well.  Note:  Make sure canister is completely empty before puncture!  
  • Coleman, which makes Powermax aluminum fuel canisters, used to manufacture a "Green Key" puncture tool with compatible stoves.  While no longer produced, this key is still effective at discharging residual fuel in canisters.  However, JetBoil has produced a similar tool called the "Crunchit" that simultaneously vents the remaining fuel and punctures the can for recycling.  The "Crunchit" can be used any any fuel canister, not just JetBoil!  Here's a video...

  • In Boulder, Burlington, and other eco-conscious towns, you can just toss empty, punctured canisters into your recycle bin. In Seattle, canisters that are empty (and marked as such with a Sharpie or adhesive label) can be placed in curbside recycling bins–no puncture holes necessary. 
  • Call your local Public Works Department and ask about rules in your area.
  • Additionally, http://earth911.com/ is a very useful website for finding disposal facilities in your area.  Simply enter you location and search for "propane tanks", "fuel canisters", etc.
Remember, in the U.S., one person creates about 1,700 pounds of trash every year.  So keeping just another item out of our landfills is one more step in the right direction.