When I exhibited Smoky Mountain Leaf Works at several craft shows in 2012, I posted a sign that said “No leaves were taken from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” Several visitors asked me why. When I replied that it was our duty to “leave no trace,” they didn’t really seem to know what that meant.
For others who may not know either, I thought this would be a great topic to discuss here.
Leave No Trace adheres to Seven Principles:
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
The member-driven Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. This copyrighted information has been reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.
The reason behind my sign at craft shows is because of number four: Leave What You Find. There are literally thousands of beautiful things in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Guests of this FREE resource come to enjoy everything there is to offer in the area: abundant and diverse wildlife, historical buildings, wildflowers, vibrantly colored autumn leaves, unusual rocks and stones, etc.
If everyone picked up a leaf or two, picked a wildflower or two, gathered a neat rock or two . . . with more than nine million visitors in 2011, that would mean taking away at least eighteen million things that others would not get to enjoy. It would also disrupt the ecosystem, as decomposing leaves and flowers provide nourishment for small creatures and insects.
I encourage everyone to leave no trace when visiting not only the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but all parks and recreation areas. Let nature just “be.”
Keep watching for new developments at Smoky Mountain Leaf Works!
I expect to launch the new site and products on Monday, February 11, 2013!