Alex Roberts and Emy Gelb travel the West introducing recreationists to the seven principles of the Leave No Trace program.
They also emphasize an unofficial eighth principle: They aren’t asking for perfection; they’re seeking improvement.
“We’re trying to empower people with the knowledge so they can make good decisions when they’re outside,” Gelb said. “... If you go on a hike with your dog and chuck an apple core and walk off the trail but pick up the dog waste, that’s still Leave No Trace. We can always improve how we’re interacting outside, but those little actions are still Leave No Trace.”
Added Roberts: “And maybe tomorrow, you’ll figure out something to do with the apple core.”
Roberts and Gelb will be in Boise next week to share the Leave No Trace principles. They’re one of four teams of traveling trainers working around the country.
They’ll be at the floater takeout in Ann Morrison Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, visit with federal agencies Monday and hang out at the lower Hulls Gulch Interpretive trailhead from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’re talking about ways to keep garbage out of the river,” Roberts said of the Ann Morrison appearance. “Bring a little net bag to dispose of cans, an Altoids tin for cigarette butts. It’s not like they’re intentionally chucking litter into the water — sometimes it ends up there accidentally. Also, being respectful of the plants and animals that are on the river.”
They’ll touch on communication between agencies and users on Monday and trail usage on Tuesday.
Roberts and Gelb have a yearlong contract as trainers. They applied as a team. He has worked as a whitewater guide; she has led backpacking trips.
“It’s a mission that we truly believe in, so when we saw the job opportunity it felt like one of those things we had to look into,” Gelb said. “I’m so happy we did.”
The seven Leave No Trace principles: plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife and be considerate of other visitors. Learn more about the principles at lnt.org/learn/7-principles.