Leave No Trace 2016 Annual Report

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The annual Float Fest celebration attracts upwards of 10,000 visitors to the Lower San Marcos River Recreation Area, in Texas. The site was selected for a 2017 Hot Spots visit.

Nine out of 10 people who visit the outdoors are uninformed about Leave No Trace or how to minimize their impacts. With over 13 billion trips into the outdoors in the U.S. every year, people are causing significant preventable damage, and that damage is adding up. Leave No Trace is on the forefront of changing this troubling trend—the littered parks and damaged trails, the formidable impacts of fire, polluted waterways and serious wildlife issues.

Protecting wildlife, appropriate use of fire, clean water, healthy parks and trails—all become a reality when people learn about and practice Leave No Trace. Costly and irreversible damage to nature is eliminated or substantially reduced through Leave No Trace education, training and outreach. Better yet, research shows that people who learn about Leave No Trace change their behavior in the outdoors and are highly likely to share their knowledge with peers.

It all starts with your commitment.


2016 Year in Review




Shari Boyer Good Solutions Group

Kurt Achtenhagen, CPA | kurt@LNT.org Director of Finance & Operations

Team West Jessie Johnson & Matt Schneider jesseandmatt@LNT.org

Susie Eitel Nonprofit Consultant

Susy Alkaitis | susy@LNT.org Deputy Director

Chris Enlow KEEN Footwear

Peter Dodge | peter@LNT.org Membership and Major Gifts Manager

Antonio Gonzalez Taxa Outdoors

Mark Eller | mark@LNT.org Foundations Director

Allison Gosselin Aramark

Jason Grubb | jason@LNT.org Outreach Manager

Julie Klein Confluence Sustainability

Ben Lawhon | ben@LNT.org Education Director

Jeff Nietzel Hi-Cone

Andrew Leary | andrew@LNT.org Youth Programs Manager

Jed Paulson REI

Celina Montorfano | celina @LNT.org Traveling Trainers Program Manager

Carl “Skip” Rapp TeraBAT

Faith Overall | faith@LNT.org Education and Research Assistant

Rob Stephens Pharmacy Management Services

Dean Ronzoni | dean@LNT.org Director of Corporate Development

Shawn M. Turner Holland & Knight LLP

Becca Steinbrecher | becca@LNT.org Information Coordinator

Team West Central Donielle Stevens & Aaron Hussmann donielleandaaron@LNT.org Team East Central Amanda Jameson & Junaid Dawud amandaandjunaid@LNT.org Team East Stephanie Whatton & Andy Mossey stephandandy@LNT.org

CONTENTS: 2016 IN REVIEW Why Leave No Trace? 2 Staff, Board & Table of Contents 3 Board Chair’s Message 4 Executive Director’s Message 5 Financial Review 6-7 Leave No Trace in Every Park 8-9 Leave No Trace for Every Kid 10-11 Major Donors 12 Testimonial 13 Partners 14-15

Dana Watts | dana@LNT.org Executive Director 1000 North Street Boulder, CO, 80304 — P.O. Box 997 Boulder, CO 80306

www.LNT.org Office: 303-442-8222 Toll free: 800-332-4100 Fax: 303-442-8217

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics



| Finding clarity under a desert sky

On our family’s first trip to New Mexico this year, my daughters, wife and I had an unexpected and powerful experience with the night sky, of all things. As we wandered onto the desert plains, we were immediately awed by the density and expanse of the starry night. The sky shimmered and had a depth that had eluded my daughters until that first evening in the desert. Without the white light that we’re used to from our home in Denver, the night sky was utterly alive. The human benefits that come with exposure to the natural world have been well studied. Restoration of mental energy, reduction of stress, improved concentration, lower blood pressure and better sleep are all realized with a little dose of nature. It was thrilling to see my girls experience a flood of emotion and then a sense of calm and wonder as they simply examined the sky. We’ve all felt it, and I was grateful that just being outside and seeing our world in a different way produced some of those impacts for our family. This southwest desert experience was another reminder of why I volunteer for Leave No Trace—why the organization’s work to connect people to the outdoors while giving them the essential tools to protect it, is important now, more than ever. I would venture to say that volunteering to protect the natural world has some of the same physiological benefits that outdoor experiences can provide. It certainly feels that way to me. I believe that the power of the Leave No Trace movement comes from its core. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has made such tremendous strides because of you—our members, volunteers and advocates.


The organization’s advances and the sheer volume of its accomplishments stem from a collective commitment to the values instilled by a Leave No Trace education. Better yet, the ethical framework is broadly accessible and utterly nondiscriminatory—it’s available to EVERYONE who ventures outside. From the thousands of volunteers engaged with Hot Spot restoration projects across the county, to those of you who participated in the Citizen Science program or went into your schools to teach Leave No Trace, we’re creating change, one community at a time. With your contributions, Leave No Trace made great strides in essential work with youth, introduced chapters, launched Gold Standard Sites and reached nearly 16 million people with Leave No Trace education. These milestones could not have been realized without you, the valued Leave No Trace stakeholder. So, the next time you find yourself gazing at the stars from a sleeping bag and contemplating your place in cosmos, remember that you are, indeed, part of something that’s bigger than yourself. With that, I am happy to present to you the 2016 Annual Report. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, I extend my greatest appreciation.

Shawn Turner Chair, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

2016 Year in Review


| The Center earns a four-star rating from Charity Navigator

Who doesn’t enjoy receiving some hard-earned praise? At the close of 2016, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics learned that we had been awarded a top-tier rating of four stars from Charity Navigator. It was welcome news—Charity Navigator, itself a nonprofit, is a highly-regarded source. Endorsements and accolades are always encouraging, yet my internal compass was already telling me that the Center’s work has long been making a powerful impact. Much of that impact is thanks to you! The power of Leave No Trace members and supports are central to the organization and our ability to bring quality programs to your communities. Along with the strong, solid support base that includes you, the Center made great strides with critical partners. In 2016, we renewed our partnership with Subaru of America, an incredible sponsor that has now supported the signature Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers program for 18 years. The Traveling Trainers are able to ensure that our message reaches more than 15 million Americans annually with Leave No Trace training and outreach programs. Other important partnerships have progressed on a similar trajectory. The Center holds a formal partnership with five federal land managing agencies—the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Those important relationships are helping the Center measure its ambitious initiative, Leave No Trace in Every Park. And, the Center has embarked on its largest research project to date, studying user attitudes and behaviors in three iconic national parks: Denali, Yosemite and Grant Teton. Has the Center reached its peak? No, not even close. How many stars can be earned for reaching the lofty goals set for the Leave No Trace in Every Park and Leave No Trace for Every Kid initiatives? In the end it doesn’t really matter. The success of these initiatives, and the outcomes of that work, are what keeps the Center dynamic, progressive and motivated. That’s more important to me than any accolades awarded to us. I’m looking forward to these challenges, and I’m sure you are too. I cannot thank you enough for your involvement! Sincerely,

Dana Watts Leave No Trace Executive Director Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics



2016 6

OVERVIEW FOR THE FISCAL YEAR JAN 1. – DEC. 31 In addition to programmatic successes, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics celebrated another strong financial year in 2016. Total Education and Outreach Program spending increased 11% over the prior year, allowing the Center to reach more people than ever before. This was a direct result of increased contributions from individual donors, as well as increased grants and sponsorships from both foundations and business partners. The accompanying summary financial information is derived from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethic’s audited financial statements. The complete audited financial statements and annual tax return are available for download on the Center’s website—just search for “annual reports.” Kurt Achtenhagen, CPA Director of Finance and Operations

Sources of Support & Revenue


Partnerships & Grants Individual Giving Merchandise Sales In Kind Donations Program Services

Use of Funds

66% 17% 7% 5% 5%


Program Services Fundraising General & Administrative

Total Assets at 12/31/15

83% 10% 7%


Cash & Equivalents Inventory Accounts Receivable Furniture & Equipment Prepayments & Other

38% 24% 22% 9% 7%

Based on annual audited financial statements.

2016 Year in Review

The Leave No Trace for Every Kid initiative remains a top priority. In 2016, the Traveling Trainers reached nearly 80,000 young people. Read more about youth programs on pages 10-11. Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics








KERN RIVER Kernville, CA



SOUTHERN APPALACIAN TRAIL Chattahoochee National Forest, GA


DELANO PARK Decatur Parks & Rec, AL




| Hot Spots helped protect 16 natural areas in 2016

In 2016, the Leave No Trace Hot Spot program wrapped up is sixth year assisting local communities near 15 parks and protected areas across the country that are facing the threat of irreversible environmental damage. A component of the Center’s Leave No Trace in Every Park initiative, the focus of Hot Spots is on areas that see severe impact from recreational activities but can become healthy again with specific Leave No Trace solutions. The Center worked with land managers, volunteer groups, local organizations and concerned citizens to host the weeklong visits. Each Hot Spots location incorporated a unique, site-specific mix of trainings, outreach events and service projects. This was also the first year in which the Leave No Trace staff conducted 3-day Hot Spots revisit events, returning to natural areas and expanding on earlier work. Each Hot Spots effort includes a site-specific analysis and recommendations for ongoing Leave No Trace education and outreach. Hot Spots often generate significant local media attention and create a clear call to action for the host communities, bringing to light the severe impacts these parks face. Leave No Trace trainings taught land managers and key volunteers how to effectively communicate Leave No Trace skills and ethics in way that would curb negative recreation-related behaviors of the visiting public. Action8

oriented events, such as trash cleanups and trail work, demonstrate the importance of practicing Leave No Trace and help mitigate existing impacts.

These trainings and events enabled the teams to reach over 16,000 people with minimum-impact education to curb future recreation-related impacts in these threatened areas. During the 2016 Hot Spot program, the Leave No Trace teams hosted 132 workshops, trainings, outreach events, and service projects. These trainings and events enabled the teams to reach over 16,000 people with minimum-impact education to curb future recreationrelated impacts in these threatened areas. The trainings included general Leave No Trace techniques, as well as specialized trainings on how to effectively communicate Leave No Trace information to park visitors. People from the communities surrounding these parks and protected areas supported the Hot Spots—these action-based projects engaged more than 350 volunteers who picked up an estimated 1,800 pounds of trash and maintained 21 trails around the country. 2016 Year in Review

HOT SPOTS HIGHLIGHTS ALABAMA’S DELANO PARK Delano Park is a 28-acre city park in Decatur, Alabama. Approximately 230,000 people visit the park annually. This large number of people recreating on such a small area causes a lot of impact, including litter, user-created undesignated trails and damage to trees. These impacts are fairly typical of the impacts that many small, urbanbased parks face. During the Hot Spot week, Leave No Trace’s Traveling Trainers conducted a busy schedule that included 32 events, workshops and local appearances. These events included the unveiling of new trash cans and doggie bag dispensers, a “yappy–hour” dog night, Awareness Workshops for local stakeholders, youth workshops, effective communication trainings, a workshop for Scouts,

a service project and booth outreach at the local River Clay Festival. At the beginning and the conclusion of the Hot Spot Week, Leave No Trace staff met with members of the Delano Park Conservancy and other key stakeholders, helping the team develop a site-specific plan to put Leave No Trace into action and continue the progress made in the Hot Spots week. Going forward, the members of the Delano Park Conservancy plan to incorporate Leave No Trace messaging into signage at the park. To select the most appropriate combination of messaging they plan to use results of the Center’s 2015 study on strategies for managing undesignated trails.

After the Hot Spots visit, the Delano Park Conservancy plans to incorporate new Leave No Trace messaging, and to partner with local schools for future cleanup events.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics



| Measuring the power of a Leave No Trace education

Leave No Trace for Every Kid is one of the Center’s major initiatives, with the overarching goal of providing Leave No Trace education for any kid who spends time outside. To that end, the Center has developed an array of educational materials for young people, from elementary schoolers through college-aged participants. A key component is evaluation—what are kids really getting out of outdoor experiences that Leave No Trace helps provide? In 2016, the Center gained valuable and deeply encouraging insights that suggest we are on the right track. These indications came from a variety of sources, including student and teacher self-evaluations, feedback from outdoor educators and interactions with the American Camps Association (ACA), an important national partner in our educational outreach. One anecdote in particular stands out as an encouraging indicator. Sherwood Forest Camp is based out of the St. Louis area and predominantly serves a population of campers and families who do not regularly engage with the outdoors. “Most of the kids that we serve come from urban settings, so coming to our camp and being immersed in the

outdoors is very shocking for a lot of them,” says Amanda Westall, Program Manager at Sherwood Forest Camps. “So, we’ve always really struggled as a camp with how to help our kids understand that nature and the things that go along with it are okay.” Like many camps, Sherwood sets out to establish how the effects of the camp experience are serving the development of the youth who they serve. They accomplish this evaluation using the ACA’s Youth Outcomes Battery (YOB) tool, which, among other developmental markers, provides a tool to measure affinity for nature. “Unfortunately for us, those scores are always our lowest scores. The kids really struggle with it, and our staff really struggles with how you teach them that stuff,” says Westall. In 2016, Sherwood Forest reported that after adopting Leave No Trace’s experiential pilot curriculum tools and associated trainings, their campers’ affinity for nature scores increased for the first time in the camp’s history of using the YOB tool. Results previously putting their campers in the 40th percentile for affinity for nature now revealed their campers to be in the 73rd percentile. The implications are

BIGFOOT’S PLAYBOOK Bigfoot’s Playbook is Leave No Trace’s newest resource to connect kids meaningfully to Leave No Trace. It provides experiential education activities specific to the Seven Principles that help kids understand what it means to Leave No Trace in their lives and their community. The full-color book is a great resource for camps, schools and youth programs who are looking to facilitate engaging Leave No Trace activities with kids. Bigfoot’s Playbook provides structured activities that help to develop an awareness of and responsibility for practices that have


minimum impact on the environment. It includes: • 38 fun and educational activities for young people • User’s guide to help match activities with different ages groups and settings • Resources to help build Leave No Trace into various areas of youth programs • Printable PDF documents to support specific activities Visit LNT.org/bigfoots-playbook to learn more.

2016 Year in Review

staggering—the Leave No Trace curriculum significantly boosted the camp’s ability to increase love, care and fondness for the outdoors. Sherwood Forest attributes the dramatic jump in growth to the use of the Leave No Trace curriculum with their campers and staff.

The implications are staggering—the Leave No Trace curriculum significantly boosted the camp’s ability to increase love, care and fondness for the outdoors.

For another measure of environmental education, the Center partnered with Penn State University researchers

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

to conduct a youth-focused study in conjunction with the Outdoor School (ODS) at the Shavers Creek Environmental Learning Center in Pennsylvania. The purpose is to gain understanding of youth perceptions toward Leave No Trace educational practices promoted through the Center’s Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids (PEAK) program. “The Center is dedicated to a data-driven approach to research,” said Education Director Ben Lawhon. “It’s important to continue gathering empirical evidence about how to best teach Leave No Trace—instead of assuming that our education programming works the way we think it should, we need to constantly investigate and challenge our own assumptions. The work and Penn State is helping us do just that.”



| Hearty thanks to these generous supporters

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a membership-based organization. We deeply appreciate all of our supporting members and partners—the Center’s programs and projects would simply not be possible

LEADERSHIP CIRCLE Members of the Leadership Circle have contributed $1,000 or more in a calendar year. Their generosity shapes America’s heritage and future by strongly supporting the values of Leave No Trace. Allison Gosselin Antonio Gonzalez Chris Enlow Christopher Power Daniel Segersin David Secunda Erika Meyers Jay Dement Jed Paulson Jeff Neitzel Julie Klein Woodard Rhea Patrick

Richard & Rebecca Crosson Rob Stephens Ryan Callaghan Sean F. Forrester Shari Boyer Shawn M. Turner Skip Clemmons Skip Rapp Steven Fraim Tony Graziano Wendy Little

Andrea Burns Bill Cyphers Brad Kauffman

Caroline Stone Carolyn Workman Catherine Miller

without your generous support. No group is more valuable to our work than our major donors. The individuals and families on this page made significant gifts in 2016. Many thanks to all of you! Cathy Scheder Dana Watts Darrell Bartels David Scoggins Doug Angevine Elizabeth Swanson Erich Stokes Frank Santiago Gary Candy James Fuller James Smith Jared Madsen Jason Madlung Jeffery Davis Jennie Curtis John Guill John Lemire John P. Wagner John R. Miller Jonathan Hoffman Kayleen Evans Kim Taylor

Klari Hixenbaugh Kurt Achtenhagen Lawrence Benenson Patrick Connelly Paul Merrion & Laura Loomis Paula Church Peter Newman Rhonda Mickelson Robert Phillips Robert Kuhl Ronald Koblitz Scot Hawthorne Scott Anderson Suanne Davendonis Susan Eitel Susy & Mike Alkaitis Ted Daeschler Thomas Roberts Thomas Shaw W. Gregory Plumb William Lardie William Straka III

Special thanks go to the McConnell Family Foundation.


2016 Year in Review

IN REMEMBRANCE | Words of praise from a legend

“Leave No Trace is the most simple and honorable concept growing in the outdoor movement today.” ROYAL ROBBINS

Legendary climber and outdoor pioneer. February 1935 – March 2017

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics


IN GOOD COMPANY | Big-time thanks to these corporate partners Our amazing partners keep Leave No Trace thriving around the world. There are various levels of partnerships that support Leave No Trace. Below, you will find the names of the companies that lent their financial support in 2016. Additionally, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics depends on partnership relationships in multiple realms. Our categories of formal partnerships include: • • • • • • •

Patron Partners Corporate Partners Small Business Partners Guide and Outfitter Partners Nonprofit Partners Educational Partners Parks and Municipalities Partners

For more information, please visit LNT.org/about/ourpartners and select the category that fits your needs.


PATRON PARTNERS The companies on this list go the extra mile to support the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, through program sponsorships and other generous giving.

Subaru of America Deuter USA Eagle Nest Outfitters Fjall Raven KEEN Footwear L.L. Bean, Inc. Squire Patton Boggs REI Co-Op Thule SmartWool

2016 Year in Review

CORPORATE PARTNERS From the outdoor industry to festival organizers, natural food providers and many other economic sectors, the valued partners on this list helped support Leave No Trace in 2016. 1908 Brands American Backcountry Avid4Adventure Backpacker magazine Backroads Big Agnes Burning Man Cheley Colorado Camps Cleanwaste Clif Bar Climbing magazine Crazy Creek Products, Inc. Falcon Guides Grabber Grand Teton Lodge Company GSI Outdoors

Hennessy Hammock Hilleberg The Tentmaker Honey Stinger JanSport, Inc. Kind Coffee Klean Kanteen Leki USA Marmot Mountain LLC Napier Enterprises Native Eyewear One Touch Point Osprey Packs Outdoor Research Planet Bluegrass Ragnar Trail Relay Restop

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Sawyer Sea to Summit Stackpole Books SunSki Taxa Outdoors Tenkara USA Tentsile Toad and Co Trango Transrockies The North Face Under Canvas Group LLC. Vacation Races Vapur VAUDE Sports Product Voss Signs 15

1000 North Street Boulder, CO, 80304 800-332-4100 www.LNT.org You can make a difference. As a member of Leave No Trace, you provide critical support to help educate and advocate for the responsible use of the outdoor places we all love and enjoy. For every dollar we spend, $0.83 goes directly to Leave No Trace outreach and education.

Please join or renew your membership today. Visit LNT.org/join

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