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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


We spent most of last week in beautiful Telluride, Colorado for the 35th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It was a whirlwind of an event that began and ended with amazing views, sunny skies, and incredible music, of course. We were psyched to have Team West meet up with us for one day of the four-day festival. It’s rare that we get to meet up with the other Traveling Trainers and we definitely appreciated all their help and camaraderie!

Another BIG THANKS goes out to our friends at Chaco. In addition to being the official footwear outfitter for the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, they also generously donated sandals, t-shirts, belts, and hats for our Leave No Trace Membership Promotion, which helped us gain almost forty new members!!!

We also want to give a big shout out to everyone who participated in the HOW GREEN IS YOUR GRASS? CAMPSITE CHALLENGE. Campsites were judged on cleanliness, sustainability, and creativity. It’s safe to say the competition was super close. We wish everyone could have won, but that’s not the nature of competition, right? Anyway, the verdict is still out, but check back soon to see each of the four finalists and the overall winner. Again, thanks to everyone who entered. You all did a fantastic job and you’re all winners in our minds. You are an inspiration to festivarians everywhere!

Keeping Arkansas in a “Natural State”

“The Natural State”, is the state slogan, and we have been blessed to spend the past week at Lake Fort Smith State Park. Today we just wrapped up a 2 day trainers course with an awesome group of people. The mix of participants included Arkansas Park employees, local Forth Smith residents, and one Tennessee resident.  The group brought tons of outdoor experience to the table with lots of stories and knowledge to share, which made the 2 days priceless.  Everyone gave very informative and creative teaching sessions, and also taught us some new Leave No Trace rap songs .  We were also privileged as a group to go out on the new pontoon boat for the Interpretive lake tour, with Jay Schneider park Interpreter learning the history of Lake Fort Smith, and seeing some historic settlers sites from about the 1800’s.   A big congrats and thank you goes out to the 9 new Leave No Trace Trainers,  all the park staff, and the Schneider family for truly making us feel right at home at the Park. Best of luck in your future endeavors, and Happy Birthday to all 52 Arkansas State Parks on your 75th birthday!

Now we are headed to Maine for a Trainers Training at Acadia National Park.

Happy Trails,

            Alexis & Topher  


Monday, June 23, 2008

Beckwourth Outdoors

We headed back to the Front Range in Colorado for two events with Beckwourth Outdoors. Their mission is to cultivate the passion and joy of adventure as shared by James P. Beckwourth, a Colorado multicultural pioneer, and their goal is to build a community that fosters inclusion while serving as the nexus for outdoor engagement and cultural enrichment. This is a great organization and we urge anyone in the Denver area to get involved by volunteering, and everyone else to get involved through membership contributions.  First, we met with a group of young outdoor enthusiasts way up in Golden Gate State Park outside of Golden, CO.  They just finished a hike when we arrived, and the group was preparing to head back out again for a night hike after dinner.  On Saturday, we met a another group in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park.  This spunky bunch was full of camping "rookies," but you wouldn't know it from the caliber of questions they asked during our presentation.  Thanks to Mike Richardson and some dedicating young leaders for ensuring two fun, safe, and successful outings over the weekend.  We were glad we could be a part of it. 
Now we're in Lander, WY and heading up past the Wind River Range and into Grand Teton National Park for five days of awareness workshops and a trail crew trainer course.  Our favorite pass-time on these lonely highways has been trying to spot the elk and pronghorn along the way.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Welcome Back

This weekend we were on hand for the grand reopening of the Lake Fort Smith State Park in Mountainburg, Arkansas. It had been six long years since the park had closed in order to construct a new water supply to meet the demands of future generations in the Fort Smith region. We had the chance to hear many emotional accounts of the beauty and splendor of the old park with its picturesque rocky spillway and WPA built guest cabins. Many lasting memories were made in the old park from 1936 up to January 2002 when the old park closed its gates for the last time.
This weekend a new chapter in Arkansas state parks was born with the opening of the new park. The new 300 acre park, which borders national forest land, boasts several new facilities including an 8,000 square foot visitor center, marina, group lodge, swimming pool, and 30 site campground. Although we didn't have an opportunity to enjoy the old park, we can say that the new park is beautiful in its own right. The Boston Mountains surrounding the lake offer solitude and recreational opportunities for the whole family. Did we mention the people? The staff at Lake Fort Smith State Park treat you like family. This may have been our first time at the park but it certianly won't be the last.
Happy trails,
Topher and Alexis

Friday, June 20, 2008

High 5

We spent the afternoon in Huntington, Utah talking with Boy Scouts from the Order of the Arrow at the second ArrowCorps5 event of the summer.  These young men traveled from all over the country to gather in southern Utah for a week of meetings and service. Their service project involved eradication of the troublesome invasive species, the tamarisk, on some BLM land. Thanks guys for all your hard work! Also, thank you to fellow Leave No Trace educators Keith, Jeff, Dawn, and Leroy for all your efforts, and to Trace for involving us in the gathering.

We had a nice visit with friends in Salt Lake City and now we’re heading back to Colorado with JD and Emily for a day at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Stay cool,
        Tanya and Cody

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Camp Cahinnio


Canoeing, hiking, team building, and 30 Girl Scouts were all found at Camp Cahinnio in Booneville, AR.  We spent the afternoon today with a group of girl scouts from all over the Arkansas and Oklahoma area, discussing our favorite topic, Leave No Trace.  We helped raise awareness of Leave No Trace thru various activities and demos, focusing on some of the 7 principles and water resources since their main camp activity is canoeing. We had a great time with the girl scouts and look forward to future programs with them and at Camp Cahinnio.  Next we are off to Lake Fort Smith State Park  in Arkansas for their re-opening, and a Trainers Training!

Happy Trails!           

Alexis & Topher 

Monday, June 16, 2008

Scenic Indeed

This weekend we had the opportunity to paddle the Jacks Fork river which makes up part of the Ozark Scenic Waterway.  Located in southeastern Missouri, the Ozark Scenic Waterway is home to both the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers which converge just south and east of the town of Eminence.  Our original plan was to float the Current but the Park Service temporarily shut down the Harper's Ferry due to shifting sediment on the bottom of the river which made the water too shallow for crossing.  So after a sizable detour and a couple of hours we decided to float the Jacks Fork for the sake of time and convenience.  In no way were we disappointed with our decision to float the Jacks Fork.  The river was nothing short of amazing with crystal clear waters, lush green vegetation covering the banks, and beautiful overhanging rock cliffs perched along the shores.  After getting a taste of this area we hope to come back and do a multi-day paddling excursion, camping along the way.  The following pics are from our trip on the Jacks Fork, enjoy!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Howdy Partner!

We had a very busy weekend in California…first we instructed a Leave No Trace Trainer Course on the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe, then we headed to the coast for an Awareness Workshop near Muir Woods. Hosted by the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, folks from the Lake Tahoe area met up with us for a chance to learn about Leave No Trace and to practice teaching Leave No Trace techniques to others. The course was a great success and we’re excited to have 11 new Leave No Trace trainers!

Sunday morning we had a chance to take part in the staff training at Adventures Cross Country, an organization which offers adventure travel courses for teens all over the world. Over 100 staff members joined us for a highly competitive game of Leave No Trace Jeopardy…luckily not all at the same time.
Both the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and Adventures Cross Country are partners of Leave No Trace. To find out more about becoming a partner of Leave No Trace please visit our Partnership page.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sun Dagger

Today we leave southern Colorado and head over to Huntington, Utah to work with the Boy Scouts of Arrow Corps 5.  It's been a great week.  In Durango, we presented the "classroom portion" of a Leave No Trace trainer course to some responsible equestrians who love to get outdoors and into the wilderness.  The next day we took a scenic drive up near Leadville and Vail to work with the Meet the Wilderness staff at an old training site for the 10th Mountain Division. This energetic group of leaders will be taking youth into the outdoors all summer long on backpacking and climbing trips.  Thanks for a fun and informative afternoon!  These photos are from events and side trips that we took this past week to Mesa Verde National Park, Leadville, and the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness. 

Friday, June 13, 2008

Order of the Arrow Mark Twain National Forest

Deep in the woods of Missouri in the Mark Twain National Forest, were 700 scouts and their fearless  leaders all focused on one thing, "cheerful service" for the Order of the Arrow. The Order of the Arrow has had a long-standing program that  coordinates national service projects, utilizing the infrastructure and leadership established over many years of success at the Boy Scouts of America's high adventure bases. The projects are working closely together with the United States Forest Service and there are 5 OA  project sites, spread across America, that will focus on service and stewardship.
We were at the first of 5 of the OA projects, and here highly enlightened on these service based projects and grateful to be apart of the festivities.  For three days we did  various demos, awareness workshops, and interacted with the order of the arrow men, the "Mark Twain Arrow Men". The OA conservation project was focused on eradicating cedar trees, which are an invasive species to the area. The overall goal was to take out 100 acres of cedars, and at the time we left there were 86 acres taken out. This is also the only project site where all the work and camping is concentrated at one base camp area. The work these scouts did was tough, with saws and chainsaws, and  especially with the elements of the summer heat. Some of our highlights from the event were seeing the worksite, the evening shows, the flag retirement ceremony,  and of course teaching and sharing Leave No Trace with the scouts and instructors we met. 
Thank you to all the scouts and Matt who helped make us feel right at home, and congrats Mark Twain Arrow men on all your work. 
 Good luck at the next 4 sites, we know they will be truly successful! 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Did Somebody Say Volunteer?

Are you a Leave No Trace Master Educator, Trainer, or enthusiast and looking to be more involved with the program? Here are some ways you can help:

1. Contact your State Advocate (check the Community Page to see who your State Advocate is) and offer your services.

2. If you are a Master Educator, Trainer, or current member and need to update your contact information you can do so by emailing

3. Also, if you are a Master Educator or Trainer you can have your name and your contact information displayed on your state's Community Page.

4. You can become a member or renew your membership by clicking HERE.

5. One of the best ways to show your support is to practice Leave No Trace skills and ethics.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


  There's a beautiful river in southwest Colorado called the Dolores River.  It runs by a great town called Dolores.  The folks in Dolores throw a fun festival every year by the river and we were fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the festivities.  Good music, river rides, and some great giveaways made for a fun day.  Thanks to Gareth at Osprey Packs for the membership promotion.  Our favorite booth was Ranger Rick Ryan's Leave No Trace river camp.  Rick's been a Leave No Trace coordinator with the BLM for a long time and he's an expert on the river.  Lastly, thank you to Alex and Chris for taking such good care of us while we were in town.  We hope to come back again sometime.  
   Now we're way up in Telluride.  We just did an awareness workshop at Telluride Sports and we'll take a short hike tomorrow before we head back down to Durango to talk to some horse packers during their trainer course.

National Trails Day, Fishing Derby, REI oh my!!!

We've had the pleasure of enjoying some time in the Greater Chicago area this weekend to do a few programs in the area.  National Trails Day was spent at Waterfall Glen Preserve volunteering time for an invasive species eradication project, clean up effort, and Leave No Trace Presentation.  Volunteers cut down Buckthorn and Honeysuckle trees to promote native habitat growth, while others picked up trash around the preserve's grounds.  After logging some stewardship  hours we presented to a group of Cub Scouts from the region.  
This morning was spent at Blackwell Forest Preserve's Just for Kids Fishing Durby, educating young fishermen how to apply Leave No Trace skills to their trade. Afterwards we presented to a group of REI employees for a PEAK training workshop. Three REI stores from Chicago were in attendance to learn how to teach Leave No Trace. The workshop was fun, and ended with each store gearing up for summer and doing PEAK programs in their community.  Thanks Illinois for a great time, now we are off to Missouri for a Boy Scout, Order of the Arrow, Arrowcorps event. 

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ice Age Trail & Park Foundation

Over 12,000 years ago an immense flow of glacial ice sculpted a landscape of beauty across Wisconsin. Today the area is home to the Ice Age Trail. The mission of the Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation  is to create, support, and protect a thousand mile long footpath tracing ice age formations across Wisconsin.  We were fortunate to work with some staff and volunteers while in Wisconsin, and conduct a four-hour awareness workshop.  The big topics of discussion were the 7 principles of Leave No Trace, Authority of the Resource, and campsite selection.  There were lots of good stories shared by all the participants, which made for a very fun and exciting ethics game  to start off the program, and lead in to the importance of Leave No Trace. The Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation is a non-profit member with Leave No Trace, and is celebrating their 50th year as an organization. We would like to thank all the guys for a  fun afternoon, good luck with all of your work, we look forward to working with you again!

Happy Trails,

Alexis & Topher 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lyons Outdoor Games

Small town and big fun!  We had such a great time this weekend in Lyons, CO.  The festival kicked off on Friday with Bluegrass, BBQ, and an amazing kayaking movie called "Hotel Charlie" in the park with Oskar Blues Brewery.  Saturday was full of freestyle kayak competitions along the South St. Vrain River, dog competitions in the pond, and bike jump comps at Bohn Park.  All the competitors were top notch!  Check out these amazing photos from the local paper.  There were even some current and past world champ kayak freestylers in the competitions like Eric Jackson.  We talked to lots of folks at our booth, set up an interpretive trail, and did a nice Sunday morning clean-up and breakfast with 25 other volunteers before the Sunday events got under way.  Thanks to Mark Cohen at Keen for the membership donations, and Ben, Ally, and Cullin for showing us around Lyons and getting us set up for the weekend.  We love Lyons and we can't wait to come back for the Folks Fest in August and to the Games again next year.  We're currently in Buena Vista, CO and heading southwest to Dolores, CO for another great river fest.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pacific Northwest State Advocate Retreat

What do you get when you combine four State Advocates, four key volunteers, two Leave No Trace staffers and one team of Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers? The correct answer is a dynamic weekend filled with great company, engaging conversations, good food, and what we like to call “Fun at Dave’s Place.”

Over the weekend we took part in the first ever Leave No Trace State Advocate Retreat. It was an amazing opportunity to meet with State Advocates and key volunteers from Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada to discuss Leave No Trace efforts in these states. While we accomplished a lot over the weekend, we did manage to squeeze in a little time for fun and games on the shores of Mason Lake. We would like to give a BIG THANKS to everyone who made it to the retreat over the weekend. Your time, input, and dedication to Leave No Trace are inspirational…we are looking forward to seeing each of you again in the near future!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mountain Sports Festival

The Blue Ridge Mountains set the back drop for the Asheville Mountain Sports Festival this weekend at Cairrer Park in West Asheville. The Mountain Sports Festival showcases the diverse lifestyles present in the region. Whether you’re a mountain biker or a mountain boarder, a climber or a caver, the mountain sports festival has a little something for everyone. The festivities started on Friday afternoon with a variety of music, food, and friendly sport-related competitions.
While at the Mountain Sports Festival we had the good fortune to run into a past Traveling Trainer Team, Amy and Dusty Allison. Amy and Dusty are currently working for one of Leave No Trace’s Master Educator course providers, Landmark Learning. When not running Master Educator courses and helping out in Landmark’s office, Amy and Dusty are out enjoying their backyard the Great Smokeys.  Thanks Amy and Dusty for hanging out and playing the Leave No Trace Wheel of Fortune with us.
Next we’re off to Madison Wisconsin for an Awareness Workshop with the Ice Age Trails Association.

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis