Currently in its 12th year, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, 2 teams of professional outdoor educators, have reached over 10 million people in 48 states with Leave No Trace education and training.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Conference Craziness

We have spent the past two weeks in the Pacific Northwest talking with folks at two different professional conferences. First we attended the International Association for Experiential Education Conference in Vancouver, Washington. Over 900 experiential educators from all over the world used the conference as an opportunity to network, build community, and learn from one another. We were very excited to sit on a panel during a workshop that focused on trends and issues in experiential education.

A few days later, we drove over the Columbia River for the National Association for Interpretation Conference. NAI is a professional association for those involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural heritage resources. We spoke with interpreters from parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, botanical gardens, and historical sites about ways that Leave No Trace education can be incorporated into many different programs.
We met with some amazing individuals at both conferences and we are looking forward to working with many of the organizations that were represented.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"A Climate for Change"

We just left sunny San Diego where we were excited to be a part of the 2008 AORE Conference. The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education is one of our non-profit partners and aims to provide opportunities for professionals and students in the field of outdoor recreation and education to exchange information, promote the preservation and conservation of the natural environment, and address issues common to college, university, community, military, and other not-for-profit outdoor recreation and education programs.

The theme for this year's conference was 'A Climate for Change', which highlighted AORE's awareness and action towards environmental sustainability. During the conference we talked with hundreds of students and professionals about ways that Leave No Trace can easily be incorporated into any outdoor program. It was great to reconnect with many old friend that we have worked with during our time as Traveling Trainers and to meet new friends that we hope to see for the 2009 Traveling Trainer season.

Here is Leave No Trace "Wanderer" Member John Hill laughing it up at our booth. Check out the ink on John's left calf!!! Thanks for your support John and it was great to meet you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Requests a visit from one of our teams in 2009! Here's how.


Be a Part of the Celebration by Requesting a Visit from the
Traveling Trainers during the 2009 Season!

The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers Program celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2009. The teams will continue to visit a wide range of people including (but not limited to) outdoor retail stores, guiding services, educational institutions, national parks and forests, state parks, elementary/middle/high schools, open spaces, municipalities, youth serving organizations, and festivals. In 2009, the Center for Outdoor Ethics will have one team traveling the West and one team traveling the East from January through October. There will be a third team on the road from June 1st-September 1st.

Our Schedule:

The 2009 Traveling Trainer location schedule is set! In 2009, the teams will actually visit many states twice. Locate your state on the following schedule and plan accordingly. This format was chosen in an effort to regionalize our travel as much as possible and to travel to states during good camping weather. Please note that this is a tentative travel itinerary. If you don’t see your state listed and live in a neighboring state, we encourage you to still request a visit. All requests must be made online. Hope to see you in 2009!

Feb. 5 – March 25: AZ, NM, UT, CA, TX, OK, KS, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC and FL.

March 26 – April 30 : CA, NV, AR, AL, MS, TN, KY, NC, and SC.

May 1-July 14: CA, NV, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, ND, SD,CO, PA, DE, MD, WV, NY, VT, NH, CT, MA, RI, ME.

July 15 – Aug. 1: WA, OR, ID, MT, UT, CO, NV, WY, NE, IA, MO, KS, ND, SD, IL, IN, and OH.

Aug. 2 – Oct 1: WA, OR, NV, ID, MT, PA, DE, MD, WV, ND, SD, NY, VT, NH, CT, MA, RI, ME, IL, IN, and OH

Oct. 2 – Oct. 15: CA, TN, KY, VA, NC, SC, AZ, NM, TX, OK, KS, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, and FL.

Oct. 16 – Nov. 1: CA, CO TN, KY, VA, NC, SC, AZ, NM, TX, OK, KS, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, and FL. AZ, NM, UT, CO, NE, MN, IA, MO, WI, and MI.

To request an event:

Step 1 – Visit:

Step 2 – Select Team East for states east of the Mississippi or Team West for states
west of the Mississippi. All requests must be made online.

Step 3 – Fill out the online request form providing as much information as
possible about your event.

Step 4 – Wait for a reply from the Center’s Outreach Manager, Dave Winter

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Death Valley

After a short vacation in Southeast Missouri, where we got to spend some time with our dogs, we hit the road again and made our way across the United States. Our destination was San Francisco where we spent the day visiting with our friends at Clif Bar. Clif Bar was hosting the Wild and Scenic Film Festival. We sat up a table next to a few other non-profit organizations and chatted with folks about Leave No Trace. Afterwards we sat down and enjoyed a few short films with the rest of the crowd.

On our way to San Francisco we made a few pit stops, including Death Valley. It was a cool autumn day in the valley, only about 101 degrees. We were even lucky enough to see some of the wildlife. The tarantula pictured above is just one of the amazing creatures that Death Valley is home to.

Monday, October 13, 2008

College Tour

During the last two months we have been on a nice little college tour through the northeast and midwest. Our stops included; Middlebury College, Castleton State College, Hampton University, Winston-Salem State University, Lynchburg College, Indiana University, and Southeast Missouri State University. Visiting these colleges and talking with outdoor leaders and enthusiasts has been a great experience. Hopefully they will spread what they learned about Leave No Trace to others at their campuses.

If you are interested in having the Traveling Trainers visit your university in 2009 visit the Traveling Trainer web page and Request an Event. It's easy to do, so check it out.

JD and Emily

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Saying Good-Bye

We wanted to say "good-bye" to our good friends and fellow Traveling Trainers that have come off the road for the 2008 season. To Tanya, Cody, Alexis, and Topher: It was a great season working with you guys. We didn't spend a lot of personal time together but living on the road as Traveling Trainers together somehow builds an even deeper bond. We hope that you all find pleasure in whatever it is you do after life on the road and hopefully we will bump into you somewhere out there.

We will miss you guys.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The End of the Road......

Well it has been one amazing journey this past year, and we would like to thank all of the wonderful staff at Leave No Trace in Boulder, our program host who were amazing, and all the friends and families who have taken us in and made us feel right at home. We did programs and travels this past year in about 32 different states, and outreach to over 5,000 people. Teaching all over the country has been the best experience and one that has made us grow immensely. Having the ability to travel, teach, and do our favorite recreational activities all over the country has been a once in a life time opportunity. 

Today is our last day here in Boulder, as we clean and un- pack the Subaru, and realize how much stuff you can really pack in to a subi! Thank you again to all the staff , our partners, and sponsors for the traveling trainer program, we would not be able to do all the outreach and education without you guys! 

Happy Trails, 
Alexis & Topher 

International Urban Parks Convention

Pittsburgh, PA is a beautiful city and it's getting greener by the minute. The city stands as an example of modern urban renewal with a keen focus on it's urban parks. Therefore, it was no coincidence that Pittsburgh was this year's site for the International Urban Parks Convention. We at Leave No Trace have devoted much of our efforts recently to developing a Frontcountry Program that addresses the unique opportunities and impacts that exist in our urban parks and day use areas around the country, so we were very eager to meet and work with park officials and city planners from around the region. A highlight for us was hearing Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods," speak about the importance that these green places have on children and how urban parks are the first and perhaps only opportunities that many kids will have to be in nature. As our current national situation continues, more Americans will be looking much closer to home for outdoor recreation and the kind of rejuvination and curious inspiration that our natural world can provide us. "Near is the new far," according to Outside magazine, so here's to bike rides in the park, fishing at the local fishing hole, day trips to our state parks, imagination and exploration in our own back yards, getting our hands dirty in the garden, and volunteering to clean up and green up our neighborhood parks. And please, bring the kids along!

Did you know that the city of Pittsburgh has the most bridges in the world with 446 in the city limits. That's three more than Venice, Italy. There are a staggering 944 bridges in the greater Pittsburgh area of Allegheny county!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Watch Your Step!!!

We recently spent the day with over 200 Girl Scouts at an Encampment in Tully, NY. Many of the girls spent the night at Camp Hoover, and we were excited to meet up with them and talk about Leave No Trace. During the course of the day we introduced many girls to the 7 principles of Leave No Trace. We spent a little extra time talking about the principle Travel and Camp on Durable Surface/Choose the Right Path. During an activity called "Watch Your Step" the girls discovered all sorts of plants and creatures that live on the ground and are vulnerable to being stepped on and crushed. During the activity, we found an ant hill, strawberry plants, beetles, small saplings and a few wild flowers. We went on to talk about the importance of walking on more durable surfaces. One group even surprised us by singing a song about the importance of walking through puddles on the trail instead of around them. We want to give everyone at Camp Hoover a big thanks for welcoming us into their Encampment and for teaching us "I Love Mud."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thompson Poudre Boyscout Camporee

To round out what has been an epic season of training we headed to the Red Feather Lakes region just northwest of the Fort Collins, CO area.  With the help of fellow trainers and Poudre Wilderness Volunteers Garin Vandemark, Bob Manuel, Mark Snyder, and Fred Allen we  helped train over 250 Boyscouts from the greater Fort Collins area on the seven principles.  Scouts rotated through four stations to learn what it takes to Leave No Trace.  For some it was a great chance to review, for others it was their first taste of the skills and ethics.  We would like to thank the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers and Dave Hattis for all their help in planning and executing this program, we hope to team up with PWV for many years to come. 

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Water Trails Conference

This past weekend we had the opportunity to present to a collective of folks responsible for building and maintaining water trails around North America and other locations around the world.  The International Water Trails Conference put on by the Washington Water Trails Association in Port Townsend, WA featured presentations on a variety of issues related to the start up, and operation of water trails.  We found out just how big a role Leave No Trace plays in the world of water trails especially when you consider how finite the resourses are on many of the island that water trails use.  We want to thank the Washington Water Trails Association for be such great hosts, and partners of Leave No Trace.  

Monday, September 22, 2008


We held a small awareness workshop at the Winnebago Forest Preserve District for conservation leaders and parks and recreation managers in the Rockford, IL vicinity.  Our workshop focused on discussions about the Frontcountry issues that are prevalent on the Kishwaukee Water Trail and other parks in the area.  Laura Barghusen from Openlands, a Leave No Trace partner, coordinated this event.  Openlands is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing public open space in northeastern Illinois and have secured over 45,000 acres of land in for public parks, forest preserves, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens.  We're very thankful for what they do at Openlands and we'll be taking this Frontcountry state of mind over to Pittsburgh for the International Urban Parks Convention.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Olympic National Park

On the way to our next program, we had a chance to check out Olympic National Park in Washington state. What an amazing park, enclosed by water on three sides of the park, with a very diverse ecosystem. In one day a visitor to the park can hike along the coast and view amazing sea stacks, venture into the rainforest and view 300 ft tall spruce trees covered in moss, and gaze upon the glaciers on Mt. Olympus. We hiked along the coast, and explored the sea stacks during low tide which was  amazing  to view the abundance of life within the tidal pools. We also had a chance to camp and hike in the Hoh Rainforest, and view  the many Elk and Black Tail Deer that also live in the campsite area. This is one of the most pristine & unique National Parks, which we look forward to visiting again. 

We are now at the International Water Trails Conference in  quaint town of Port Townsend, Wa. 
Happy Trails, 
Alexis & Topher

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Virginia is for Lovers!

After a quick lunchtime presentation at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington D.C. last week we headed to Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA via the Shenandoah National Park. We camped at Mathew's Arm Campground in the northern part of the park and then took our time and drove down the Skyline Drive to take in all the great views and scenery. Once we had our fill we headed to Lynchburg and arrived at the Claytor Nature Study Center, an extension of Lynchburg College, to meet up with 12 Trainer Course participants.

We spent Saturday and Sunday at the nature center talking, teaching, and learning about Leave No Trace. At the end of the course 10 student leaders for the New Horizons program and the Director of the Claytor Nature Study Center were officially Leave No Trace Trainers. It was a great course and our thanks go out to all of those who participated, to the Claytor Nature Study Center for hosting, and to Paul Stern for organizing.


JD and Emily

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Illinois Rained

We're in the midst of an extremely wet week here in Illinois, but we making the best of it.  First, in Springfield, we talked with 35 kids and 5 teachers at the Montessori Children's House on a rainy day afternoon.  Thank you to Sue Harris for welcoming us into her school.  Then it was off to Rantoul, IL for the Boy Scouts Illini Jamboree with the Prairielands Council of East Central Illinois and Western Indiana.  2,900 scouts were at this big event, and we had a great time during our two awareness workshops onstage at Grissom Theater.  Thanks to Ralph and Ellen for taking great care of us at the Jamboree.  Also, a big tough thumbs up to all the Scouts who stuck around last night and woke up this morning in a monsoon only to have to break down there tents and pack up in a downpour with no end in sight.  

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Utah Trained


The past few days have been spent in  Utah, and we just wrapped up a Trainer course located in the Logan Canyon of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. We are very grateful to have worked with a knowledgeable crew of educators from a variety of environmental education institutions & the Ogden Nature Center. The training was hosted by Kathi Stopher the Utah State Advocate, and tagged beside an Environmental Education Conference happening in town. The training participants had a huge resume of outdoor experiences put together, and all shared many wonderful experiences correlating to the skills and ethics of Leave No Trace. The groups teaching topics were fun, and engaging too! Another great experience while we camped at the Guinavah - Malibu Campsite was a close encounter with 2 Bull Moose, at the early break of light while camping before our course, a very interesting encounter with wildlife not to be forgotten. 

Thanks & Congratulations to 7 new Leave No Trace Trainers in the beautiful state of Utah! 
Next off to Washington for the Washington Water Trails Conference. 

Happy Trails, 
Alexis & Topher 

City of Rocks

We had an Amazing experience checking out the City Of Rocks, National Reserve in Southern Idaho after the NASPD conference. What  a beautiful formation of rocks, and climbing within the reserve. We spent 2 days climbing, and even did a little mountain biking around the park. This is definitely a climbers paradise, with rocks as far as the eye can see. We met lots of climbers from the Idaho, Utah, and even Colorado area who escape for the weekend to City of Rocks. This will definitely not be the last time we check out the area and climb on beautiful granite formations that have seemed to pop up out of the earth all over the place. 

Happy Trails, 
Alexis & Topher  

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Conserve School

Conserve School was founded in 2002 to fulfill James R. Lowenstine's dream of creating a school at which children could be offered a comprehensive college preparatory education with a special emphasis on nature studies. It was his hope that for some students this would lead to ultimate employment in areas related to the preservation of our lakes, forests, and streams for public recreation without spoliation, and in the general science of the conservation of natural resources. Needless to say, we were excited to visit this campus and meet the students who learn and live in the woods of Land O' Lakes, WI.  Our new friend, Gretchen, showed us around and invited us to play some evening ultimate frisbee.  The next day, we spoke to 40 freshman and eight staff members about Leave No Trace and the ethics involved with appreciation and protection of the natural lands that we love.  The Conserve School is a Leave No Trace partner, and Headmaster Stefan Anderson and his staff enthusiastically incorporate Leave No Trace skills and ethics into the curriculum and activities of the school....and it shows.

This one goes out to the Loon

The loons are the size of a large duck or small goose, which they resemble in shape when swimming. Their plumage is largely black-and-white, with grey on the head and neck in some species, and a white belly, and all species have a spear-shaped bill.The European name "diver" comes from the bird's habit of catching fish by swimming calmly along the surface and then abruptly plunging into the water. The North American name loon comes from the bird's haunting, yodelling cry (hear it for yourself). We were lucky enough to enjoy the loon and their yodelling at the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, where we spent three nights camping and hiking. The surrounding area was a beautiful clouded grey with green lush forest, swampy marshes and thousands of lakes. Such a contrast to some of the western states we've traveled. It's been fun wearing our warm clothes and rain gear. Off to Illinois and Pennsylvania. 

Yodel ay he hoo,
Tanya and Cody

Monday, September 8, 2008

Acadia Trainer Course - Part Deux

For the second time this year, Charlie Jacobi, Resource Specialist for Acadia National Park, has hosted a wonderfully successful Leave No Trace Trainer Course. Alexis and Topher instructed the first one at the beginning of the summer and we were excited to work in another one as the busy summer season winds down. While we've enjoyed all the Trainer Courses we've instructed, the combination of great/funny participants, perfect weather, a gorgeous sunset, and a quick dip in Donnell Pond puts this one at the top of the list.

Another great thing about this course was that all of the participants came from very different backgrounds both professionally and personally. It was nice to have so many different perspectives and to explore how Leave No Trace is relevant in all sorts of settings.

After the course, we jumped in the Subaru for a quick trip to Washington, D.C. for The North Face Endurance Challenge. Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Hannah had other plans and with the race cancelled we had the weekend off to explore a slightly soggy version of Maine. Now that the sun is shining again we are finally headed south to meet up with our friends at National Geographic. Should be a fun week!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

MMMMMM! .... Maple Syrup!

We recently spent some time working and traveling in the picturesque state of Vermont. First, we went to Middlebury College to work with over 100 student trip leaders. These students are responsible for leading several trips for incoming freshmen. Next, we drove through several Vermont towns that looked like they should be on postcards (and probably were) and arrived in Castleton. At Castleton we met up with a former Leave No Trace intern, Nick Korda, and spoke with several students at Castleton State College.

The Eco-Fest in Burlington was the final stop for our little tour of Vermont. Put on by the Outdoor Gear Exchange, the Eco-Fest was a 5 hour event in the downtown area that featured a local band and one of our favorite partners, Chaco! We spent the afternoon chatting with the locals about Leave No Trace.

NASPD- Keeping it real in a virtual world

This past week we had the great honor of being on hand for the 2008 National State Park Directors Conference in Boise, Idaho.  This year’s theme, “Keeping it real in a virtual world” tackled the realities state parks are facing regarding the every changing technological world we now live in.  Directors attended a variety of presentations dealing with how to cope with the challenges state parks are facing in 2008.  Attendees learned how to reconnect kids with nature, the use of technology as an interpretative tool, and using technology to enhance park operations. 

Leave No Trace was on hand as a follow up from last year’s conference where directors signed a letter of understanding to promote Leave No Trace within state parks.  We offered state park resource guides to help directors implement the resources Leave No Trace has to educate the public how to minimize user impacts on their lands.  We also promoted partnership with the Center as an effort to provide the public with the skills and ethics necessary to preserve our parks.  We wanted to thank the great state of Idaho for hosting the conference this year, and for taking such good care of us while we were in Boise.


Happy Trails,


Topher & Alexis 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"The American Dream" Burning Man 2008

The conception of Burning Man first started by Larry Harvey & Jerry James in 1986 on a beach in San Francisco with a small group of San Fran locals who had free spirits of body, space, and time. They would come together  to assemble a man, and then burn it together on a beach.  Since then there has  been a huge evolution of Burning Man. The Burn moved locations to Black Rock Desert in Nevada, and is now an event with around 50,000 people from all over the world, bringing a new celebration of art, music, culture, and community to the playa. Earth Guardians who are now a 501 c 3 non-profit have been at the fore-front bringing education of Leave No Trace to Burning Man since 1996. We camped with the Earth Guardians who always house the Traveling Trainers out on the Playa each year. We volunteered doing outreach with other volunteers, teaching a Leave No Trace awareness workshop, doing MOOP patrols and pick-ups ( MOOP- Matter out of Place i.e. litter), and going out to the burn platforms to talk with burners about the appropriate things to burn and not burn, and alternatives to burning entire theme camps, or toxic materials, aka PVC. 

This year the circumference of Burning Man, also known for only a week as Black Rock City, was said to be the size of San Francisco, being the largest BRC yet to date. Also the Man was around 100 feet tall, on an amazing platform, which was also the largest to date. The event is truly remarkable, how 50,000 people can come together for a week, making a complete new city out in the middle of No-Where, and at the end of it only have a very small imprint on the playa. There is a reason why Burning Man has been touted as the largest Leave No Trace event, and it simply boils down to stewardship and all the wonderful people that stay and clean up the playa during and after the event. 

Thank you to everyone at the Earth Guardians Camp, & all the Tahoe theme camps for making us feel right at home. We know this will not be our last burn! Thanks Karina & Tony and keep up the amazing work with the Earth Guardians.

Happy Burn, 
Alexis & Topher

Journey to the Center of the States

Here are a few photos from our short but sweet visit to the iconic landmarks in the middle of the country; Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, and Badlands NP. We loved the Black Hills of South Dakota and look forward to doing some more hiking and exploring if we ever get there again.


We left the west behind last week, and we've been saturating ourselves in all that is great about the midwestern states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The state highways take you past wonderful small towns full of farmland, silos, sweet corn, dairy cows, nice folks, and lots of picturesque bodies of water surrounded by lush vegetation. First, we visited St. Mary's University near the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Winona, MN. We set up a booth during the student activities fair, then we worked with Davey Warner, the university's outdoor recreation coordinator, and some student trip leaders to help kick off their trainer course. That evening we took advantage of the beautiful woods behind the school for some great hiking and camping right on campus.
Next we met with David Cantrell and Cub Scout pack #438, the Rockers, for a Scout Expo in downtown Wausau, WI. The area scouts got together to set up booths, demonstrate scouting skills, and celebrate scouting. We were happy to be a part of their big day and held three demos at our booth using PEAK games and activities out of our "101 Ways to teach Leave No Trace" book.

Monday, August 25, 2008

TransRockies Run


Today marked the start of the second annual TransRockies Run which pits runners against the elements and each other.  The weeklong race takes competitors  on foot from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek on some of Colorado’s gnarliest terrain.   We were on hand t provide competitors and spectators information on how to apply Leave No Trace Skills and Ethics to the great sport of trail running.  The race went off without a hitch as a 150 dedicated runners charged out of the gate for the first stage of the race.

Immediately following the start of the race we made our way over to the Avery-Parsons Elementary School to conduct awareness workshops for students from 1st to 5th grade.  We held four sessions, tailoring each program to the grade level.  In total we presented Leave No Trace information to roughly 200 students.  We had a great time in Buena Vista and want to thank Avery-Parsons Elementary, and our partners the TransRockies Run for welcoming us and for taking such good care of us while we were in town.  

Happy Trails, Topher & Alexis

Green Frontier Fest

It's Sunday in Denver, and the whole town is amped up. Thousands of folks, including the Traveling Trainers, spent the day in downtown's Sculpture Park for the Green Frontier Fest. This was a community celebration of sustainable choices in the New West, held in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention.  Guest speakers, great booths showcasing sustainable opportunities, and thousands of people excited about new possibilities on the horizon made for a wonderful day.  We enjoyed talking to all who were interested in Leave No Trace and how it applied to their recreational choices and daily lives.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New York Minute

Summer is always a busy time for the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program. While Team East and Team West have been busy doing presentations, for us, most of the past month was spent at Center for Outdoor Ethics in Boulder, Colorado working on program development and doing some community outreach at local events. While we love being close to our amazing coworkers in Boulder, we were excited to get back out on the open road.

We just wrapped up a great event at Camp Gorton in Dundee, NY. We joined over 40 scouting leaders for Powder Horn, a training session which exposes the Venturing or Boy Scout leaders to activities and resources necessary to operate a successful Venturing Ranger Award or Troop High Adventure program. Working with this dedicated group of scouting leaders was a great way to get back into our Traveling Trainer groove.

After our presentation, one of the Powder Horn participants chatted with us about his plans for sharing Leave No Trace with his council and he reminded us that while there were only 40 people in the room, the ripple effect of our presentation could reach thousands. We hope that’s true and we look forward hearing about all the Leave No Trace success stories that will come from our new friends at Camp Gorton.


  In lovely Steamboat Springs, CO we met with kids and parents in Elk Park for a Leave No Trace session and a barbecue picnic afterwards.  In the above photo, these eager and exuberant youngsters practice the "Rule of Thumb" for viewing wildlife at a distance.  We played games and discussed the seven principles while using the Kids plastic reference cards to cover the most important aspects of each principle.  The following day, we held an awareness workshop at the brand new community center for ten folks from the Steamboat area.  
  Big thank you to Paige Boucher from Mountain Hardwear for organizing these events and making us feel right at home.  We're already looking forward to visiting again next year.

Happy August,
Tanya and Cody

Thursday, August 21, 2008


After leaving Salt Lake City and the craziness of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market we headed back to Boulder via I-40 and Dinosaur National Monument. This was a spur of the moment decision and when we arrived we were initially disappointed to see that the Quarry Visitor Center, which houses the famous cliff face of dinosaur bones, had been closed due to to significant structural hazards. If we had only visited the parks website we would have known this vital piece of information; we should have brushed up on the first Leave No Trace principle, Plan Ahead and Prepare. On the flip side, had we properly researched the area, we may have postponed our trip and missed out on the opportunity to have the monument basically to ourselves.

We did see a few fossils, although it required a little more work than driving to the visitor center, walking into the exhibit and having a well informed interpreter explain exactly what we were seeing. The fossils we saw blended into a large cliff face about half a mile away from the more impressive display that is the Quarry Visitor Center. We later drove further into the monument to check out some of the amazing petroglyphs in the area. Again, minus a few folks driving through, we had the place to ourselves. So the moral to this story in twofold. First, Plan Ahead and Prepare by checking out guidebooks, websites, and/or speaking with local land managers. Second, if you find out that the main attraction is closed, consider going anyway, it may end up being a unique opportunity for solitude and exploration during the busy summer season.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

1st Flatiron

We have been back in Colorado for a few events, had a chance to catch up with staff,  and even had some time to enjoy the mountains of Colorado in the summer. The distinct backdrop of Boulder are the Flatiron mountains which offer scenic beauty as well as climbing! We have been wanting to climb the 1st Flatiron one of the top classic climbs in the country, since march and finally are wish came true. There are multiple flatirons, but Flatiron # 1 offers the longest vertical climbing.  The climb is about 10 pitches to the top of the summit, with over 1,000 vertical feet. It was truly epic climbing, views of Colorado down to Boulder and even out to Denver, and views atop of the summit looking out over the other flatirons and other mountains.  Climbing the 1st Flatiron has been a big recreational highlight for us, and will not be the last time climbing in the Flatirons of Boulder, Co.

Next we are off to Buena Vista, Co for the Trans Rockies Run!

Happy Climbing, 
Alexis & Topher 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lyons Folks Festival

Just had a wet, but great time at the Folks Festival in Lyons, Colorado. We got to enjoy acts like KT Tunstall, Amos Lee, Greg Brown, Nanci Griffith, The Waifs, Todd Snider, Tim O'Brien, Dar Williams, Josh Ritter, The Mountain Goats, and many many others along the banks of the St. Vrain River. It was great fun working with Alexis and Topher, just in from the east, and all the folks at Planet Bluegrass, especially Bonnie and Steve.  It was another successful "How Green Is Your Grass?" campsite competition with many wonderful entries showing us all how to be clean, sustainable, and creative when you camp.  

Tanya and Cody

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008

This past weekend we headed to Salt Lake City for the biannual Outdoor Retailer Show. OR attracts thousands of retailers that are looking for outdoor specific products, services, brands, fresh ideas, apparel launches, and outdoor innovation. With so people in the outdoor industry in the same place, Outdoor Retailer is an excellent opportunity to increase awareness for Leave No Trace.

Thanks to the support of our amazing partners, Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008 was particularly successful. Subaru and Backpacker Magazine make it possible for us to host the wildly popular Great Gear Giveaway. Over 800 people participated in our Leave No Trace Ethics Quest for the chance to win 17 prize packages full of amazing gear donated by many generous companies in the outdoor industry.

Additionally, many of our partners host special events during the show that benefit Leave No Trace in unique ways. We want to thank everyone who held events for their support. Check out our slideshow to see a few highlights of the show.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wet and Wild in Gunnison

After a couple days of rain we made our way through the front range of Colorado to find beautiful sunny skies in Gunnison.  All the rain helped set the stage for the Gunnison River Festival.  The festival was part of a series of programs that made up River Awareness week.  Apparently locals are dealing with several issues that threaten both the water quality as well as the quality of recreational experiences in the area.  Mining threatens the watershed for Crested Butte which has the potential of damaging fish populations as well as other forms of aquatic life, while upstream water diversion threatens to destroy the thriving water sports community that exists in and around Gunnison.

 The river festival was a great opportunity to rally folks who are passionate about their rivers, as well as coming together to enjoy the beautiful white water park.  The festival featured a variety of vendors, the largest watershed model we’ve ever seen, a portable climbing wall, and of course the white water park.  The healthy flow of water gave kayak competitors great waves to surf during the rodeo comp which all the spectators appreciated.  The day concluded with local folks who dressed up in costumes rafting through the park on some of the most creative rafts ever, one of which was a giant pizza.  One things for sure, Gunnison locals know how to have a good time.


Happy Trails,


Topher and Alexis

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Camp in Kentucky

We spent the morning in Campbellsville, Kentucky at the Tim Horton’s Children Foundation Camp. We worked with about 128 campers from ages 9 to 12, that attend the for a 10 day session. There are about 7 different camps, and most of them being in Canada. Campers are picked from different parts of the country, and are granted a once and a life summer camp experience. We introduced all the campers to Leave No Trace, and the importance of stewardship towards the land. We ran a couple of new activities focusing on Respecting Wildlife, and Choosing the Right Path.  We are headed to Colorado for the Gunnison River festival, and a chance to link up with Leave No Trace staff and trainers at the Lyons Folk Festival.

Happy Trails,

Alexis & Topher 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

BSA in Jonestown, PA

This was the third year the Traveling Trainers had the opportunity to spend time at Bashore Scout Reservation in Jonestown, Pennsylvaina.  About twenty scouts participated in the hour long awareness workshop we hosted.  After a review of the seven principles the group had the opportunity to participate in a new activity called stepping stones.  The activity educated the scouts on the importance of traveling on durable surfaces, and planning ahead and preparing.  The group had several minutes to plan their strategy on how to cross an area using fewer felt "stepping stones" then members in the group.  After some tough planning and tense moments crossing the divide the group succeeded at crossing.  After playing Stepping Stones the group learned about minimizing campfire impacts while playing Campfire Impacts.  The game pitted four teams against one another in determining the correct answer to questions regarding minimum impact fires.
We want to thank our hosts at the reservation for taking care of us while we were in the area, and hope that all the participants in the group walked away from the workshop with skills and ethics to Leave No Trace.

Happy Trails, 

Topher & Alexis 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Taking a Bite out of the Big Apple

In the city that never sleeps there is said to be about 25 million people in New York City, and somewhere in that mix you would find us, the Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers. We had three different programs over the past few days in the Big Apple, and probably our most unique program setting to date.  Camp Central Park is one of the many youth camps that run out of Central park, and we worked with 60 campers   from ages 6 to 11.  Inwood Park youth camp was the second youth program we did while in NYC in the upper Manhattan area working with 25 day campers. Both of the youth programs we discussed impacts on the environment and impacts they see in the city. Since we were in the largest city in the U.S. we touched on all 7 principles, but really focused on the ones that pertain to urban life styles. “Trash your Trash” was a big focus, while talking about the three R’s as well Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. 

We also met Central Park Conservancy staff for a program in the park. We presented to about 10 staff members who primarily work in the Woodlands area of Central park doing conservation work. We focused on the frontcountry principles, and programs that Leave No Trace has been successful with.  The conservancy staff is turning over a new leaf and looking to change some things within the park, due to user impacts and the amount of people that use the park. They do such an amazing job taking care of the grounds and beautifying the park, and are looking to make it even better. Thanks to the staff  for pointing out the Bouldering in the park, its not everyday you can get a little climbing fix in right in the middle of the largest city. We look forward to working with the conservancy staff in the future.

Thank you to all our NYC program hosts! Next off to Pennsylvania & Kentucky for programs.

Happy Trails,

Alexis & Topher


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Montana State Parks

We spent a fun weekend at a couple state parks near Billings, MT. We at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics are excited about our new State Parks Parternship opportunities and Montana State Parks, along with Nevada State Parks, is leading the way in the West. We set up a booth and worked with Darla Bruner at Pictograph Cave State Park on Friday. Then we headed down highway 212 to Cooney State Park to meet with Park Rangers Dave, Sharon, and Cody at this boating hot spot. These rangers sure have their work cut out for them on these busy summer weekends. We hosted two evening workshops at Cooney and talked to folks about front country issues such as litter, visitor conflicts, and pet concerns. We would also like thank Doug and Mike with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for some good conversation and insights about Montana's parks and recreational opportunities. If your state park is interested in a partnership with Leave No Trace, please follow this link or visit the parks partnership page on our website.

Grizzly Country

We finished a two night back packing trip in The Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. We made sure that we were extra careful during this trip and took Leave No Trace practices to the highest level. We drank our left over spaghetti water and swallowed our natural tooth paste instead of broadcasting our grey water. It didn't feel right to leave these scents around in Grizzly Country. We didn't want to compromise our safety and the safety of other campers in the area by being careless with our waste. We were also told not to wear our cooking clothes to bed because you might wake up to an unwanted visitor. So we packed a cooking set of clothes and a sleeping set. There are special measures that we all need to take when hiking and camping in bear country and we urge you all to contact the visitor center or land manager in the area you plan on recreating in to get the latest updates on bear precautions. Enjoy the pictures.

Tanya and Cody

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The WildeBeat ..... Take a listen.

We were recently featured on a podcast called 'The WildeBeat'. The WildeBeat is an audio journal about getting into the wilderness. Our most recent podcast, "Waste Training", can be found on The WildeBeat homepage. Some other podcasts that have aired in the past include "A Trace of Training" and "Stealth Gear". If you have never heard one of the WildeBeat podcasts we would really encourage you to check it out. Steve Sergeant and the folks there do a great job of getting good information out to their listeners.

Check them out at .

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Partnering on PEAK

Today we worked with fellow Partner REI and a few of their awesome employees in Connecticut for an educational outreach program, teaching PEAK.  We worked with 360 kids that attend a summer camp called, Winding Trail Youth Camp. Campers were from Kindergarten through 5th grade.  One may wonder, how were you able to work with 360 kids? Having 2 traveling trainers, 4 REI employees, a solid game plan nothing is impossible. There were 6 sessions of 60 kids, all broken up by appropriate age levels for activities.  We focused on what Leave No Trace was all about, so campers had an understanding of the principles, and ways they can be stewards for the land. A couple of activities we ran with the campers were, “What Principle Am I?”, “Watch Your Step”, “Step on It”, and “ How Long Does It Last”. These activities explored some of the principles, and planted the seed about how we need to preserve and protect our environment.

The day was definitely jam packed with teaching, and was a huge success in our eyes. Partnering in the field and teaching along side with REI employees was great, and we hope for more programs like this in the future. We would like to Thank Mark & Josh at Winding Trail Camp, and a huge thanks to Jenna, Brad, Tina, & Tracy (Connecticut REI All-stars) for all your work and success on the massive PEAK program.

Happy Trails,

Alexis & Topher 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Future Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers?

This is Frank (left) and Vern and they are Leave No Trace super heros. We just spoke to 800 Arrowmen in Jackson Hole Wyoming for our last Arrow Corps 5 event with the Boy Scouts. These two Leave No Trace aficionados were able help teach some of our non-stop 30 minutes workshops throughout the day! They were a huge hit and used some crowd pleaser material like Bo jackson and Stanley the Leave No Trace Bear to really illustrate some of the principles. These two friends have been traveling to all five Arrow Corp 5 events throughout the summer, teaching Leave No Trace, trail work, and other important outdoor skills to their fellow Boy Scouts. Big thanks Frank and Vern. Maybe you could be the next Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers!?!

Swirly Gig,
Tanya and Cody


The Mt Washington Observatory hosted their 8th annual Seek the Peak event this weekend in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The event helped raise over $97,000 to support the weather observation and reporting efforts of the Observatory. Avid hikers came from around the country and Canada to seek out the peak of Mt. Washington as the crescendo to their fundraising efforts for the non-profit.

The event kicked off at the Flatbread Co. in North Conway, NH as participants registered for the hike on Friday night. Grey skies gave way to blue on Saturday morning as hikers flooded to the Appalachian Mountain Club's Pinkham Notch Visitors Center for their 8+ mile hike up and down the mountain. After tabling at the center for several hours we headed up the mountain to check in on the progress of the participants and to conduct outreach for other visitors "seeking the peak".

The event concluded with a turkey dinner at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Subaru treated participants to a full spread and live music, as well as donated a one year lease of a Subaru Forester, while LL Bean donated a variety of prizes for the raffle proceeding the dinner. We would like to thank all the folks who raised money for the Observatory, the sponsors, and to the Observatory family who were kind enough to put us up for several days while heavy rains, high winds, and tornadoes were pummeling the area.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Washington Water Trails Association

What could be better than sea kayaking for four days in the Puget Sound? How about sea kayaking in the Sound with our new friends, past Traveling Trainers, and current dynamic duo that make up the SEA (Sound Education and Action) Kayaker Team. North Moench and Ella Goodbrod took us under their wing for the weekend as the four of us talked to visitors on and around Blake Island about the Washington Water Trails Association and "how to reduce your paddle print" by practicing Leave No Trace skills and ethics. The weather and water were great, and we had a chance to talk to 125 people during the weekend at three different Cascadia Marine Trail sites. Some quick highlights include; getting to hang out and work with Traveling Trainer legends, learning about tide charts and decision making when traveling on the water, wildlife sitings like bald eagles, osprey, seals, raccoons, and a salmon farm, being introduced to sea kayaker culture and meeting lots of great people who love this sport, an impromptu game of "Okay - No Way" with a large group one evening on Blake Island, and navigating some crossings full of big ferries and fun waves. To learn more about the WWTA, a great partner of ours, click on the link above. Also, please visit the SEA Kayaker page to read more about North and Ella's outreach and adventures on the water this summer. Keep up the great work you two!
Lastly, we would like to thank our new pals Sarah and Robert for their great company and hospitality while we were in Seattle.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

REI... Boston & Hingham

We have spent the past two days in the Boston Area doing PEAK training's for the local REI employees. REI is a huge supporter and Partner of Leave No Trace, and also goes out in their the community and conducts PEAK programs in their local youth community. Our first program was at the Hingham store, right outside of Boston. Then the program today was right in the city of Boston. We spent time teaching the Boston area  employees how to raise environmental awareness, as well as how kids can minimize their impacts while enjoying the outdoors thru using the PEAK pack. We would like to thank Dane the outreach specialist of these two stores for hosting the program, and your continued support and passion for education of Leave No Trace. 

Happy Trails, 
Alexis & Topher 

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ohhhhhhh, RockyGrass!

On friday we will be heading to Lyons, Colorado to join our friends at Planet Bluegrass for the 3-day music extravaganza that is RockyGrass. If you are planning on getting down in Lyons this weekend we invite you to stop by our booth between sets.

Top ten reasons to stop by the Subaru/Leave No Trace booth this weekend...

10. Shade!!!
9. Snacks
8. "Bear Canister Trivia"
7. Good chance that you will be the subject of next weeks blog!
6. There will (not) be beer at our booth!!!!! And it will (not) be free!!!!!
5. Our neighbors are awesome.
4. Fun for kids and adults
3. Three words...KEEN PRIZE PACKAGES
2. "How Green Is Your Grass" Campsite Challenge (Winner receives a pair of on-site camping passes for 2009!)
1. Learning about Leave No Trace skills and ethics..duh

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cranston Community

After two days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire we had the pleasure of running two awareness workshops in Cranston, Rhode Island.  Our first workshop was filled with folks from the area wanting to brush up on their knowledge of Leave No Trace.  The group consisted of Boy Scouts, Scout Masters, Wildlife Conservationists, and an Ironman Athlete.  The group was eager to learn about the skills and ethics that make up Leave No Trace, and what they could do to minimize their impacts while recreating.  Participants walked away from the workshop armed with the knowledge necessary to apply Leave No Trace on their next outing, or at their work.

The second session we held focused on PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids).  REI employees were interested in how best to convey Leave No Trace to kids ages 6-16.  We discussed how to tailor the presentation to various ages and what activities work best for each group.  After reviewing several activities we touched on several icebreakers that would help introduce the idea of Leave No Trace, as well as setting the tone of their presentation.     

Thursday, July 17, 2008


The last two days have been spent in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, doing a Trainers Training for the USFS SACO Rangers District.  This was truly an amazing backcountry program, with knowledgeable passionate rangers from the New England area.  We had a variety of USFS employees from Backcountry Rangers,  Fire Crew, a Mineral Specialist, Visitor Information, and Front Country Rangers.  After our classroom session we headed to the trailhead of Baldface Mountain for teaching sessions, hiking, and backcountry camping.  We hiked about 7 miles roundtrip throughout the program, and had some scenic classrooms in  a beautiful alpine environment.  One of the highlights from the course was the steep hike up the ledges from the shelter to the notch of Baldface Mountain, which provided scenic views of New Hampshire & Maine, and an incredible classroom.

Congratulations SACO Rangers & Thank You for being a Partner of Leave No Trace! You guys are Awesome! We had such a wonderful course, and wish you all the best in your work protecting and educating the visitors of the White Mountains National Forest.

Happy Trails,

Alexis & Topher


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Forest

Oregon. It's hot, it's cold, it's wet, it's dry, it's summer. We've been cruising around west Oregon these past few days. After a nice visit in Eugene to the Oregon Country Fair, we headed to the coast and over to Tillamook. At the Tillamook Forest Center, we talked to visitors in the deep, lush coastal mountains. This area, once the site of massive fires in the 1930's, is now the largest reforestation project in Oregon, and it's beautiful! Next, we drove to Portland to talk with Americorps trail workers for the Forest Park Conservancy. Forest Park is an awesome urban park right near downtown Portland. It provides 5,000 acres of woodsy solitude and miles of trails for hiking, jogging, and biking to all who are fortunate enough to meander into this forest.
Oh yeah, guess what. We got to go to another Arrow Corps 5 event with the Boy Scouts last Satruday. This one was in the smoky Mt. Shasta area in northern California near the towns of Mcloud and Mt. Shasta. About 600 scouts gathered together to do some much appreciated trail work in the Shasta-Trinity national forest. We had a great day presenting and hanging out with all the scouts. Big thanks to Howard, Jim, and our new buddies and guest lecturers, Vern and Frank. We'll see you guys in Jackson.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rocky Mountain Youth Corp

Last weekend we headed down to Taos, New Mexico for a Trainer Course with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corp. This course was awesome for several reasons. First, Rocky Mountain Youth Corp is a great organization. They work to preserve and protect the environment by working with youth throughout northern New Mexico. Second, Catherine Smith, our Community and Partnership Coordinator, was able to join us. She was a great asset and we were psyched to have her on the course . Third, Taos has some amazingly tasty New Mexican grub, which we managed to sample before heading back to Boulder.

Next week we will be hanging out at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics as we prepare for some events that are a little closer to home for Leave No Trace. First up will be RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival in Lyons, CO, were we will be working with KEEN for the campsite competition. So, if you are headed out Lyons to listen to some tunes and you're planning on camping, make sure to stop by the Leave No Trace booth and tell us why your campsite is clean, sustainable and creative and you could win some really good prizes. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New England Beauty

After finishing up several programs in the White Mountains we headed to the Adirondack High Peaks area.  The drive through New Hampshire and Vermont was exquisite.  The route we took offered great views of the rugged peaks of the Whites and lush forested canopies covering the Green Mountains.  We stopped about half way in the town of Bolton, Vt to enjoy some climbing.  The rock at Bolton was metamorphic in nature, and provided solid protection while leading.  We are throughly enjoying our time in the northeast and plan on spending several days in the majestic high peaks of the Adirondacks.  

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis

Thursday, July 10, 2008

White Mountain Workshops

The past two days have been spent in the White Mountains National Forest of New Hampshire.  We had a program with the Appalachian Mountain Club at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, and  2 USFS SACO Ranger District awareness workshops.  The AMC is a partner of Leave No Trace and throughout the summer  has nightly ranger led interpretive programs. The Traveling Trainers have  a history with AMC, doing awareness workshops for families vacationing and staying at the lodge within the White Mountains National Forest.  Our Awareness workshops for the USFS SACO district were held at the Historic Russell-Colbath Homestead, in the restored barn. The Homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is a wooden frame dwelling constructed between 1831 & 1832 by Thomas Russell.  The historic site was definitely a beautiful classroom especially to be teaching about the importance of Leave No Trace.  The first workshop with the USFS was an introduction to Leave No Trace, and the second one was a refresher program for Master Educators in the New England area. All three programs were awesome, and scenic with the White Mountains as the backdrop. 

Next programs are a Trainers Training in New Hampshire. 

Happy Trails,

Alexis & Topher 

Summer Camp in Idaho

We're in the stunning Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, and we just left our new friend, Idaho State Advocate Paul Holle and the wonderful atmosphere at Camp Perkins and Luther Heights Bible Camp.  We spent two days at the two camps talking with 200 kids and playing two games with each session.  We played some old standbys like "Step On It" and "The Itinerary Game," and we were also able to debut "The Leave No Trace Relay" which tested the campers on each of the seven principles as they ran the course.  We had a wonderful time being immersed in camp life for a couple days and would to thank the staff at both camps for making us feel right at home.  
Now we're in Ketchum, ID to pay our respects to the late Ernest Hemingway (he spent his last years in this area), and to start the long drive to Mt. Shasta and the Oregon coast.  Our drive through Idaho was as scenic as it gets. Highways 93 and 75 take you to great small towns like Challis, Salmon, and Stanley as you follow the Salmon River through the mountains with plenty of hot springs along the way.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pacific or Mountain Time?

We've been in the Lochsa River corridor for the past couple of days.  First, we set up a table and talked to visitors at the busy Lolo Pass visitor center right on the MT/ID border.  This area is famous for two important historical trails.  The Nez Perce Trail and the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discover trail both pass right over Lolo pass and into the Bitterroot Mountains.  We traveled down highway 12 along the Lochsa to the Wilderness Gateway Campground for a campfire talk, and then went to a popular trail head that leads to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs to talk to Sunday hot springers.  The photo above is Warm Springs Creek on the way to the hot springs.  Did you know that Idaho has more hot springs than Oregon, Washington, and Montana combined!  Now we're back in Missoula and getting ready to head down to the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho to meet Idaho State Advocate Paul Holle and his campers at Camp Perkins and Luther Heights Bible Camp.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Western Colorado Trainer Course

Recently, we spent a couple days with scout leaders from western Colorado on a two-day Leave No Trace Trainer Course. We hiked up to about 10,000 ft on Mount Sopris near Carbondale, CO and spent some time getting to know each other and talked about Leave No Trace. Six scout leaders joined us for some great views of Sopris and numerous fields of wild flowers. The scenery was great, the company was wonderful, and the training was a complete success.

If you are interested in learning more about a Leave No Trace Trainer Course click HERE. If you'd like to find courses in your neck of the woods check out our Community Page.

Acadia Climbing

After facilitating a Trainer's course on Donnell Pond we had the opportunity to explore some of what Acadia National Park has to offer.  The park boasts amazing coastal cliffs and sandy beaches, as well as big dome-shaped mountains, freshwater lakes and crystal clear streams.  On our first day off, the park was shrouded in fog as we made our way to the Precipice climbing area on the eastern side of the park.  As we ascended the central wall's, Story of O, the sun broke through the clouds to expose beautiful views of the ocean in the distance.  Our second day was spent climbing at Otter Cliffs scaling the sea-worn rock along the coast.  Both locations offered very distinct experiences within miles of each other.  Acadia is one of America's most amazing treasures and we hope to return and explore it further.

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis    

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wyoming Safari

Wyoming was wonderful.  We spent five days in Grand Teton National Park and we miss it already.  Day one was spent with the park service trail crew and the Youth Conservation Corps. They spend long, hard days to maintain and create the trails that we all enjoy and we owe them all a big thanks.  Day two and three was a fun and scenic trainer course with six trail crew leaders. They took us up Death Canyon to one of the trail crew's backcountry cabins for the course!  Great discussions, great food, and great hiking sum it all up.  We learned quite a bit from these leaders. Most of whom had been working in the park for at least five years, but one trail dog legend named Burt has been working on the Tetons trail crew for 44 years!  We rounded out our five days with three big awareness workshops for the Grand Tetons Lodge staff.  These folks work with park visitors every day and have great opportunities to pass on important information about their national park and Leave No Trace. Thanks to Gina and Pat for taking care of us while we were there.  
Our drives through the Tetons and Yellowstone were like an American safari with countless sightings of elk, bison, and pronghorn, about a dozen moose, and one young grizzly on an evening prowl.  Now we're way up in Missoula, MT for some fireworks on the 4th and we'll head to Idaho's Lolo Pass and the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Maine - Trained

Thirty-two hours after leaving Arkansas, we found ourselves in Acadia National Park, on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Our two day trainer course was held at Schoodic Education & Research Center as well as Schoodic Beach, just a few minutes outside the park.  On the course we had a diverse group of participants, park staff, Friends of Acadia staff, a hiking guide, a sea kayaking guide, and a teacher from College of the Atlantic. The entire group was well versed in the outdoors & recreation, which offered great discussions and stories during our 2 days together. We saw a great mix of teaching styles and activities, and enjoyed a beautiful hike up Schoodic Mountain. 

Charlie Jacobi, the course host, is no stranger to Leave No Trace, this is his 10th year hosting a  Trainers Training Course at Acadia.  It was a true pleasure to work with an individual with so much knowledge and passion for Leave No Trace.  Thank you Charlie for your dedication in training other staff members in Leave No Trace, and your continued support towards the Traveling Trainers.  

We wish the 10 new Leave No Trace Trainers the best of luck, for everything  you do to preserve the beauty of Maine! 

Happy Trails! 

Alexis & Topher