Want to save the world? I met with staff members at Roxborough State Park to find out how and to see what they are doing as the first Leave No Trace park in the state of Colorado.
First of all, what is Leave No Trace (LNT)? There are 7 principles of LNT:
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Roxborough State Park teamed up with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to educate visitors about the human impact on the environment.
“Some people don’t know how to act outdoors and what the impacts are if they are not environmentally responsible. That’s the main focus of the program.” said Todd Farrow, park manager.
One of the biggest challenges of this program will be communicating Leave No Trace to so many park visitors.
“Another challenge is that people don’t want to abide by the rules, the ‘it’s okay if I just do it’. The attitude of ‘It’s just me, I’m not going to create that much of an impact.’ That creates a big challenge for us,” said Todd Farrow.
It is important for kids to not only learn the 7 principles of LNT, but also to practice them.
“We want to give them the importance of the LNT principles. We want to make the programs interactive and fun, so they will want to learn more and teach their friends,” said Angel Tobin, volunteer and interpretive services manager.
Roxborough State Park is making an effort to teach kids through their various programs.
There is a Junior Naturalist program, and every school group will receive basic LNT principle education.
“Every program will get some level of LNT education,” said Mike Thomas, volunteer naturalist.
They also want to get the kids interested in protecting the environment. Sadly, they are able to show the impact when someone leaves trash or goes on an unauthorized trail. These behaviors are what they want to change.
“We like to point those things out and engage them. Asking them how they would feel if someone trashed their bedroom or backyard. We are trying to get them to see the relationship between them and nature,” said Sally Anderson, volunteer naturalist.
Parents can help by leading by example and practicing the principles themselves. If kids are running around like crazy they will not experience wildlife and they will be disturbing other visitors.
Kids need to know how important it is to take care of the resources we do have and to respect wildlife as well.
For more information on Leave No Trace, go to LNT. Or visit Roxborough State Park!