San Juan Mountains Association and the San Juan National Forest are hosting the Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers on July 11-17, with their focus on the Ice Lakes Basin trail located north of Durango at the Mineral Creek Campground area near Silverton.
Ice Lakes Basin trail receives a large amount of visitors, sometimes 100 hikers a day, during the summer season primarily because of its easy access to the lakes and higher elevation. Consequently, it also receives a large amount of impacts, including trail braiding, dog feces, campfire impacts, water pollution and trash.
The trainers will spend a week providing workshops for youths, key business staff, volunteers and community members who work and/or have an opportunity for public contact in our area. The program will be locally tailored to meet site-specific needs.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the environment by teaching people to enjoy it responsibly. They accomplish this mission through education, research, partnerships and volunteerism. The Leave No Trace Center has delivered successful educational programs in the United States and internationally since 1994.
Research shows that Leave No Trace education is successful in significantly improving people’s knowledge, ethics and behavior in the outdoors. Their empirical research further indicates that Leave No Trace education programs foster healthier lands and waterways including:
Healthier, thriving wildlife and fewer negative interactions with humans.Considerable litter reduction.Less degradation of native plant and animal species.Stronger human bonds to the outdoors and a greater sense of stewardship.Many outdoor areas across our nation are negatively impacted by recreational use – we’re literally loving the land to death. The reason is usually not malicious intent to harm nature and wildlife; rather, it’s simply a lack of knowledge or skills by the general public. The end result, however, is usually the same: Litter, invasive species, habituated wildlife, dog waste, 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, pets chasing wildlife – the list goes on and on.
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics calls these areas Hot Spots – sites that are damaged but that can recover and become healthy again after specific Leave No Trace applications. By identifying and working with Hot Spots across the nation, we rapidly move toward recovering and protecting the places we cherish for future generations. The Traveling Trainers travel the country are addressing these Hot Spots.
The public is invited to a series of free Leave No Trace trainings, 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m., and 6-8 p.m. July 12 at the San Juan Public Lands Center in Durango. In addition to these trainings, there will be activities at the Ice Lakes Basin trailhead. July 13 will be campground visitor training and kiosk installation at the trailhead. On July 14, volunteers are needed for a trail maintenance project followed by a barbecue for the participants, and July 15-16, the Traveling Trainers will be on the Ice Lakes trail and in the Basin teaching Leave No Trace ethics and techniques.
If your business, volunteer group, youth group or any community member would like to participate in the Subaru Traveling Trainer activities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by July 5. However, preregistration is not required.
Kathe Hayes is volunteer program director with San Juan Mountains Association, a nonprofit dedicated to public land stewardship and education.