Friday, August 15, 2008

All good things must come to an end...

The time has come and sadly our season has come to a close.  We made it back to Boulder, CO, where it all began, safe and sound.  Our travels this season brought us through 24 states, covering over 15,000 miles.  We were able to reach over 4,000 people with Leave No Trace information and made more than 30,000 impressions.  As we sit in the office and reflect on the past three months, we are very pleased with the success of e-tour's second season.  The program continues to grow and develop and we are proud to be a part of such a rewarding and valuable organization.  We would especially like to thank Coleman Outdoor Products for their generosity and support.  Also, we would like to thank Marmot for outfitting us in style as we spread the Leave No Trace skills and ethics this summer.   
Enjoy all your outdoor adventures this year and remember to Leave No Trace.  Be sure to check out the website to find out when e-tour 2009 will be in your town!  
Safe travels!
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Leaving No Trace in Utah

Utah is a beautiful state that offers a variety of recreational opportunities.  Whether you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, river running, or winter sports, you can find fun in the outdoors from most major cities.  We travelled across the state offering workshops and outreach in many different locations.  We started down in southwestern Utah at the St. George Sportsman's Warehouse.  We hosted a workshop for a group of boy scouts and their leaders.  The group started the workshop by playing a round of Minimum Impact Match.  The group really enjoyed the interactive lesson on ways to plan ahead and prepare for a trip outdoors.  This was a great opportunity for the scouts to ask a lot of questions, as they were preparing for a weekend backpacking trip to the mountains.  After St. George, we drove north to Provo and Midvale for two more workshops later that week.  Our final stop was at Cabela's in Lehi.  Although we did not have a formal workshop, we were able to reach hundreds of people at our booth.  The customers enjoyed Leave No Trace trivia and the game How Prepared Are You?  Planning Ahead and Preparing for a trip outdoors is the best way to ensure fun and safety, as well as minimizing avoidable impacts on your trip.  Before your next outdoor adventure, be sure to take the time to plan for your trip and expect the unexpected.  
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Spreading awareness through New Mexico

Over the weekend we hosted two awareness workshops in New Mexico.  Friday night we were at Sportsman Warehouse in Las Cruces, NM.  We had a good crowd for the workshop, which included locals, kids, and staff from Sportsmans Warehouse.  We played a variety of games and activities to introduce the audience to the principles of Leave No Trace.  Although the heat can be unbearable at times in southern New Mexico and make it difficult for locals to get outside, there are wonderful recreational areas for them to enjoy.  We discussed the importance of leaving no trace in these special places.  
After Las Cruces, we drove north to the capital, Santa Fe,  to the Coleman Factory Outlet.  We had only two people for the workshop, but they were avid Leave No Trace enthusiasts and very involved in the Boy Scouts.  We introduced them to the PEAK pack, a Leave No Trace curriculum developed in partnership with REI, so that they can use some of the activities with their troop.  We had great discussions about their times in the Boy Scouts and how important Leave No Trace has been in all the adventures they have taken.  Remember to Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure!
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

#33, 34, & 35

Three more National Parks checked off the list!  Over the week, we went to three parks in four days!  Our first stop was at Big Bend National Park in Texas.  We stayed in the Chisos Mountains, where we found relief from the scorching summer sun.  We hiked in the mountains on the Lost Mines Trail.  Although we were in the middle of bear and mountain lion country, we were not lucky enough to spot either on the trail.  We were able to encounter other wildlife including a mountain jay, javelinas, mule deer, a skunk, a large rattlesnake, and a vulture. It is truly amazing how much life there is in the vast desert.  We left the park along a beautiful scenic drive that traveled beside the Rio Grande to the small border town of Presidio, where we ate an authentic Tex-Mex meal.  After lunch, our travels took us north to the Guadalupe Mountains N.P. in northern Texas and to the Carlsbad Caverns N.P. in New Mexico.  Both parks offered solitude and beauty.  There was Leave No Trace information across all three parks for visitors to learn about ways to minimize their impacts while enjoying these special places.  The past four days have been a whirlwind of natural beauty.  We are looking forward to continuing to explore more jewels of the southwest over the last few weeks of our tour.  
Safe travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Family fun in Texas

Have you ever wanted to get your family out camping under the stars but are not sure how?  The Texas State Parks system has the answer for you...become a Texas Outdoor Family!  Over the next couple of months, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, TPWD, will be hosting family campouts across the state.  This is a wonderful opportunity to get your family outdoors and learn how to camp, kayak, geocash, and much more.  The best part is there is no experience necessary.  To find out more information about the locations, visit Texas Outdoor Family 
Over this past weekend we were a part of the pilot program for Texas Outdoor Family.  There were over 50 participants with varied previous camping experience.  The park provided all the necessary gear, which was all Coleman Outdoor products, for every family.  They also led demonstrations on minimal impact set up and break down of camp, disposal of grey water and trash, and safe campfire techniques.  Participants were eager to ask us questions about ways they can leave no trace and enjoy the outdoors responsibly.  Happy camping to all the families that will take part in this fabulous event!
Safe travels...
Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Texas State Parks Trainer Course

On Wednesday and Thursday we had the pleasure of hosting a trainer course with the staff of various state parks and historical sites in Texas.  The course was held at Buescher State Park, just east of Austin.  The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and Texas State Parks have partnered up just as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, TPWD,  is set to launch its first series of Texas Outdoor Family Campouts.  The campouts are designed to teach families the Leave No Trace skills and ethics while learning outdoor skills of camping, such as tent set-up, outdoor cooking, gps use, and family activities.  
The trainer course provided the staff with the necessary tools to develop Leave No Trace practices in their parks.  We were excited to have Dave Winter, the Outreach Manager for Leave No Trace, join us on the course.  His knowledge and expertise provided valuable information to the participants.  A special thanks goes out to Chris Holmes, TPWD Outdoor Programs Coordinator, for embracing Leave No Trace and working towards instilling the program in the Texas State Parks.  Thanks for all your hard work!
Safe Travels...
Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Relay Madness at Black Bear Lake

We spent the day at Black Bear Lake Day Camp in Clarksburg, NJ.  This is an exciting way for kids to spend the lazy days of summer.  Activities include swimming, fishing, arts and crafts, sports, laser tag, and of course, camping and outdoor skills.  We had the opportunity to work with 8 groups of campers ranging in age from 6-12. The Leave No Trace Relay Race was a huge hit.  The campers really enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning the principles of Leave No Trace.  When we asked each group what they learned during the activity, the most common response was "the rule of thumb".  Respecting wildlife is an important part of experiencing the outdoors, after all, we are visiting their home.  Using the 'rule of thumb' is simple- start by extending your arm directly in front of you and give the animal a thumbs up.  Then close one eye and try to cover the animal with your thumb.  If you can completely cover the animal, then you are a safe distance away from the animal.  By using the rule of thumb, you will ensure safety for both you and the wildlife.  Remember to never feed, follow, or chase wildlife!
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour-Danvers, MA

Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour in Danvers, MA marked the final days for the e-tour team in New England.  The weather was perfect for any outdoor adventure all weekend long.  We were thrilled to have Dan LeRose, the National Account Manager for Coleman Outdoor Products, join us at the event.  Dan provided a wealth of knowledge on all things Coleman and demonstrated the high-speed grilling capabilities of the Coleman Road Trip grill.  He is a master on the grill!  

The people of Danvers were excited to learn about Leave No Trace skills and ethics.  We had the opportunity to chat with a lot of folks, including boy and girl scouts and an Eagle Scout who was a master when it came to "Bear Canister Trivia".  The kids loved the Leave No Trace Scavenger hunt, as the adults enjoyed a fun game of "How Long Does It Last".  We had lengthy discussions on the importance of disposing of waste properly and recycling.  Do your part to keep our lands beautiful by learning and following the seven principles of Leave No Trace.  

Good Bye New England!  Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour-Springfield, MA

We had a great 4th of July weekend at the Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour in Springfield, MA.  People were excited to be picking up their gear to kick off a summer of fun!  We encountered many outdoor enthusiasts, especially one family that hung out with us at our booth and played a variety of Leave No Trace games and activities.  The family had never heard of Leave No Trace but they immediately understood why Leave No Trace is important and how it can be easily applied to their outdoor adventures.  The family enjoyed to event so much that they came back on Sunday to do it all again.  Come check us out next weekend in Danvers, MA for our final meeting with the Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour.
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Connecticut Cabela's

Over the weekend we were fortunate to host two very successful awareness workshops at the Cabela's in East Hartford.  The participants ranged from a family of campers that felt they practiced the concept of Leave No Trace, although they were never formally introduced to the Leave No Trace skills and ethics, to a crew of boy scouts that always work hard to leave no trace.  During the workshops we reviewed the seven principles of Leave No Trace and then played a variety of games and activities that everyone seemed to enjoy.  Many of the folks were interested in the results of the game "How Long Does It Last?"  In this game, the participants must determine how long the item they have been given takes to biodegrade by silently  arranging themselves in order from quickest amount of time to longest.  When asked which item was most surprising, one child commented that he was surprised that cigarette butts take 2-5 years.  It is all too common to see cigarette butts on the ground.  This reinforces why it is so very important to "Trash Your Trash," rather than just throwing it on the ground.
Safe Travels...Tracy and Kate, etour 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Paddle, paddle, paddle your boat

The 27th annual LL Bean Paddle Sports Festival held in Freeport, Maine was a time for families to explore the water sport world.  Sea kayaking is one of the fastest growing sports in our country.  The festival provided the opportunity to test a variety of kayaks and canoes in beautiful Casco Bay.  With more and more people recreating on the water, it is important to learn, and practice, the Leave No Trace skills and ethics.  Although paddlers have little impact on the water itself, land managers are finding significant impacts on the shorelines and wildlife that live there.  Practicing Leave No Trace will help minimize the impacts on the 95, 440 miles of shoreline in this country.  
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kittery Trading Post, Maine

Friday we arrived in Kittery, ME after a relaxing week in Massachusetts catching up with family and friends.  We spent the day at the Kittery Trading Post for Junefest.  This was an exciting event filled with great sales and Coleman was highlighted as an event guest.  Coleman's Let's Go Outside Tour, a mobile showcase providing a touch of Coleman's 100 plus year history as well as a sampling of today's products, was in the parking lot for customers to enjoy.  We met a Leave No Trace enthusiast that quizzed us on the history of NOLS and Leave No Trace skills and ethics about the use of fire.  We explained to her that Leave No Trace is not against campfires, but it is important to always check with your local land manager about fire permits.  Then you want to use an established fire ring in popular areas and keep the fire small.  Always be sure to burn the wood to ash and pack out what you can.  She was very happy to see us at Junefest and encouraged us to reach as many people as possible. 
Safe Travels...Tracy and Kate, etour 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour-Erie

We had another exciting, and rainy, weekend at the Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour in Erie, PA.  Although it was raining for most of the weekend, the sun popped out and we were able to reach 100s of people at the tour and provide them with Leave No Trace information.  The scavenger hunt was very successful.  We even had kids that wanted to do the hunt more than once!  We camped out right on the beach of Lake Erie while we were in Erie at Sara's Campground.  We were lucky enough to have the rains stop just in time for some amazing sunsets.  Gorgeous!
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Paddling in Pittsburgh!

This week we were in Pennsylvania.  We ventured down to Pittsburgh to meet up with Jon Lucadamo, the Pennsylvania state advocate for Leave No Trace.  Jon works for a non-profit organization called Venture Outdoors.  The organization is dedicated to introducing people to paddling, hiking, and many other activites in the city of Pittsburgh.  Jon took us for a wonderful paddle down the Allegenhy River.  The river runs right through down town Pittsburgh.  What a way to start the day!  If you are ever in Pittsburgh, check out Venture Outdoors and see how much recreation the city has to offer.  Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cathole or Kybo?

We spent the weekend at Cabela's in Dundee, MI.  Cabela's offers a wide range of gear for your outdoor adventures.  The store had many events going on including a gun show and gun exchange, tent sale, boat show, and of course the Leave No Trace e-tour!  We set up our booth in store next to the towering mountainscape.  We hosted two awareness workshops over the weekend and provided information to many customers.  We met scouting troops from Michigan and Canada that were excited to see us at the store.  Did you know that scouts in Canada use a Kybo as a latrine?  Kybo is an acronym that stands for "Keep Your Bowels Open".  One troop we met at the store was going to be building their own Kybo.  Catholes or Kybos?  You decide.
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

Trash Your Trash

We were exploring Northern Michigan this week up near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  It is easy to see why this is federally designated land.  The dunes climb over 450 ft above Lake Michigan.  White sands line the shore for miles.  We stayed at a wonderful campground named D. H. Day Campground.  The campground is actually located on a sandbar that is a result of glacial erosion dating back to the Ice Age.  The sandbar separates Lake Michigan from Glen Lake, which at one time were both one lake.  Before leaving the area we refreshed in the frigid waters of the lake...brrrrr!
On our way to Traverse City, we stopped to play a round of disc golf.  It was a lovely course set in thick forests with rolling hills.  We enjoyed it immensely, beside the fact we were discouraged to see people had left there trash everywhere.  Sadly, users seemed to think that the beginning of each hole was a trash receptacle.  Waste that is improperly disposed of is not only an eyesore, but it also diminishes the quality of experiences in the out of doors.  If you can pack it in, PLEASE pack it out!
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour-Michigan

The Leave No Trace e-tour joined forces with Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour again this weekend in Grandville, MI.  If you have never experienced a Dick's Sporting Goods Outdoor Adventure Tour, this is truly an event for the family!  Whether you enjoy paddling, peddling, camping, or fishing, this event has what you need to be planned and prepared ahead for your next outdoor adventure.  We set up our booth inside the Ultimate Campsite and provided an exciting scavenger hunt for the kids around the footprint.  We also played an activity we call "pick it up".  This activity involves placing empty water bottles around the event tagged with a message to return the bottle to the Leave No Trace booth if found.  It was a great way to introduce people to the principle of Dispose of Waste Properly.  The activity even encouraged a few kids to pick up other trash they found in the footprint of the event.  With over 2.5 million plastic bottles used every hour in the US, it is important to Trash Your Trash, or even better, recycle it!  We will meet up in the tour again in Erie, PA.  Until then...Safe Travels!
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Exploring Lake Michigan

We had the opportunity to spend a few days exploring Lake Michigan and the quaint beach town of Saugatuck. This is a beautiful area of the state with pristine beaches and glorious sand dunes.  We hiked in the one of Michigan's 112 state parks at Saugatuck Dunes State Park.  As we approached the lake through the forested dunes, we were awestruck at the sheer magnitude of Lake Michigan and it's 6 quadrillion gallons of water.  After our hike, we headed back to Campit Campground to enjoy the evening by a campfire.  We met many great people here and they were interested in ways they could Leave No Trace.  We successfully put on our first impromptu awareness workshop and got everyone excited about our travels and our cause.  A special thanks goes out to Monica, Vicki, and Pam for a great week at Campit Resort.  Our very first experiences in Michigan have been enjoyable and we look forward to exploring the Upper Peninsula of Michigan next week.  Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Two storm cells looming over Independence, MO proved to be too fierce for the Bass Pro Family Campout.  The event, which would have introduced beginner camping techniques to families, was unfortunately canceled due to the inclement weather.  Although we did not get camp under the stars, we were able to set up our booth inside the store next to the trout pond.  Outdoor enthusiasts were aplenty.  We encountered one woman who was a recycling fanatic.  She fills 12 recycling bins at her home alone each week!  We introduced her to ways she could protect the areas she enjoys recreating in by teaching her Leave No Trace skills and ethics.  She was pleasantly surprised to learn that she already practiced many of the techniques involved with Leave No Trace.  Despite the weather, we had a great time talking to the kids and families of Independence!  Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Missouri's Natural Springs

We spent the week in Southern Missouri in the Mark Twain National Forest.  It is a beautiful area of the country we had never visited before.  We met some fellow campers who invited us to a natural spring swimming hole deep in the forest.  The water was crystal clear!  We spent the afternoon wading in the water and introduced our new friends to Leave No Trace.  After leaving the forest, we traveled up to
Ha Ha Tonka State Park. We encountered a lovely, elderly woman named Rose while hiking to Missouri's 12th largest natural spring.  She was 92 years old and excited to hear about our adventures.  She encouraged us to live life to the fullest because you never know what the future holds!  Thanks Rose.
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Go Outdoors!

This past weekend marked our first official event!  We spent two days at the Bass Pro Shops Go Outdoors Event in Broken Arrow, OK.  The event included kayak and canoeing demos on Uncle Buck's pond, a fish fry, a rock climbing wall, and a Coleman gear giveaway.  We set up our booth outside the store by the rock climbing wall and provided activities for kids and families to come and enjoy.  The favorite activity of the weekend was the bear canister challenge.  Being in Oklahoma, we were encouraged to change the name from bear canister to "coon can" as there are many raccoons and not many bears living in Oklahoma.  The folks in Broken Arrow were happy to have us and were very interested in learning ways to Leave No Trace...Safe Travels!
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Snow? May?

Here it is, May 13, 2008 and we are getting ready to start our summer adventure tomorrow!  We woke up this morning to snow everywhere!  What crazy weather we have here in Golden, CO.  We have had four great days of training up at the Leave No Trace office and are fully prepared to start our journey.  Our first stop on the tour will be in Broken Arrow, OK for the Bass Pro Shops Go Outdoors Event this weekend.  The Subaru is all packed up with our Coleman gear and we are ready to hit the road...Safe Travels!
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

e-tour 2008

The 2008 Leave No Trace e-tour is hitting the road next week! Stay tuned for more blogs by the e-tour themselves: Kate and Tracy!