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This Month in ADK History: Leave No Trace

This Month in ADK History: Leave No Trace

May 11, 2022

By Ben Brosseau, Director of Communications

Since 1922, ADK has been teaching people how to explore and protect New York’s public lands and waters. Over the years, the focus of these efforts has expanded to include more and more forms of outreach, from managing information centers to leading skills workshops to introducing local kids to the outdoors. One of the most important steps that ADK has taken to improve its educational impact came in 2009, when ADK became one of 11 national providers for Leave No Trace. This partnership, which has lasted for over a decade, has had profound impacts on both ADK’s outreach and outdoor education in the Adirondack Park at large.

ADK’s partnership with Leave No Trace is most evident in its programs. Since 2009, ADK has trained 141 Leave No Trace Master Educators, over 300 Trainers, and hosted over 2,700 Awareness Workshop participants. This included providing training for many partner organizations in the Adirondack Park, who sent their staff and volunteers to ADK to learn more about Leave No Trace practices. Furthermore, every participant in ADK guided hikes, workshops, and other staff-led programming learn about the 7 Leave No Trace principles as a part of their experience.

ADK has also teamed up with Leave No Trace to bring two Hot Spot events to New York State: one at Peekamoose Blue Hole in the Catskills in 2017 and another in the High Peaks Wilderness in 2019. Hot Spots are multi-day events that support areas that are experiencing human impacts by hosting programs aimed at stewardship and education, such as trail clean ups. The High Peaks Hot Spot later culminated in a list of recommendations that Leave No Trace submitted for mitigating impacts caused by high use in the Adirondack Park.

A woman talking to a group

Most recently in 2020, ADK furthered its relationship with Leave No Trace by receiving Leave No Trace Youth Program Accreditation for its Marie L. Haberl School Outreach Program: Three Seasons at Heart Lake. This provides ADK with resources that enhance the impacts of its Leave No Trace education for young people, allowing ADK to better teach local kids skills that will help them have safe and low-impact adventures.

For thirteen years, ADK has worked alongside Leave No Trace to provide visitors with the knowledge to have a safe and low-impact experience. It’s a relationship in keeping with the vision of ADK’s founders, who wished to “educate the public to keep the camps clean and the woods from being burnt.” Though that mission has clearly expanded, the spirit of empowering recreators through knowledge persists.

Learn more about ADK’s Leave No Trace courses here.

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