FOW Partners with Leave No Trace to Educate Visitors About Park Use by Ruffian Tittmann, Executive Director, Friends of the Wissahickon
riends of the
Philadelphia Parks and Recreation are ready for yet another busy summer season in Wissahickon Valley Park. Since the start of the pandemic, the park’s popularity has skyrocketed. We love that people see the Wissahickon as a retreat, but the influx of visitors brings with it a host of challenges, including litter, dog waste, trail erosion and damage to vegetation, which present long-term environmental impacts, as well as the potential for user conflict. The Wissahickon may look and feel wild, but with more than a million annual visitors, it’s a big job to keep it that way. We all need to do our part to make sure the park continues to be a place where everyone can enjoy recreation as well as being a sustainable habitat for nature and wildlife. Education is a great way to shape positive changes in behavior. Our seasonal field crew members, five this year, help us engage directly with park visitors at our highest-use locations by sharing FOW’s mission and responsible park-use principles. The need for education is
also why we’re working with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a national organization that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly.
center’s prestigious Hot Spot designation in 2019. In so doing, we joined some of the country’s most significant parks, including Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming and Joshua Tree National Park in California. Due to the pandemic, however, Hot Spot events were pushed back to this year.
Included in the center’s Seven Principles, an accessible framework of minimum impact practices, is a “carry-in, carry-out” philosophy to prevent trash and, ultimately, water pollution; minimizing impact in the park by staying on established trails; and protecting wildlife by leashing pets and giving space to habitat boxes. Read more at lnt.org.
I’m excited to announce an entire weekend of Leave No Trace Hot Spot programming will be happening Friday, July 23 to Sunday, July 25. We’re working with community partners and our friends at Leave No Trace to plan a full schedule of educational workshops, volunteer service projects, guided walks and a variety of fun and engaging community events.
Leave No Trace selects Hot Spots in geographically and environmentally diverse areas across the country that have been severely impacted by recreational use, and provides grassroots education and public engagement service projects on sustainable practices.
For more information and details about participation, visit fow.org/lnt-hotspot.
Thanks to the nomination by FOW Trail Ambassador Tom Rickards, Wissahickon Valley Park received the
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