Stop trashing our parks – learn Leave No Trace ethics

Paul Garza, left, takes a break during an REI Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing class at Middle Earth Wall inside North Shore Climbing Area at Reimers Ranch Saturday, July 25, 2015. The class brings together beginner and and novice climbers to teach basics such as knots and proper use of gear. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)

Paul Garza, left, takes a break while climbing at  Reimers Ranch in July 2015.  (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)

 

Central Texas parks draw big crowds, and all those people make an impact on trails and vegetation.

To help educate the public about how to minimize their footprint, Travis County Parks Department is partnering with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to host a series of educational programs and community events March 1-3. Trainers will focus their efforts on Milton Reimers Ranch County Park, which is popular among rock climbers and mountain bikers.

“In most cases, the land impact isn’t due to a malicious intent to harm nature and wildlife,” says Amanda Neiman, Leave No Trace traveling trainer. “Instead, it’s simply lack of Leave No Trace education and practices.”

Here’s the lineup:

  • March 1: Leave No Trace for Mountain Biking, 6:30-8 p.m. REI Austin Downtown, 601 N. Lamar Boulevard. (Register at http://www.rei.com/events). This mountain biking specific, interactive workshop, includes Leave No Trace minimum-impact skills and techniques developed in conjunction with the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Travis County Park staff will be onsite to talk about the different outdoor recreation opportunities at our local parks.
  • March 2: Leave No Trace Bouldering Awareness Workshop, 7-7:45 p.m. Austin Bouldering Project, 979 Springdale Road. The workshop will include skills to minimize impact while climbing. It will also cover the best methods to protect crags and boulders, interact with other visitors, respect wildlife, and take care of the places you like to climb. Free.
  • March 3: Climbing Authority of Resource Workshop, 7-9 p.m. Austin Bouldering Project, 979 Springdale Road. The workshop will include skills to minimize impact while climbing. It will also cover the best methods to protect crags and boulders, interact with other visitors, respect wildlife, and take care of the places you like to climb. All attendees will receive a certificate for the workshop. Register at Eventbrite.

The Travis County park system was established in 1939. It now comprises of over 33 parks and numerous preserve tracts.  For more information, go here.

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