The newsletter of ESWA - EAGLE SUMMIT WILDERNESS ALLIANCE apprises you of important activities in and around Eagles Nest, Holy Cross, and Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness Areas.

BEFORE WE BEGIN... Update of ESWA Programs:

Our newest ADVOCACY campaign, for the protection of the Homestake Valley, was featured on the front page of the VAIL DAILY (29 June).

VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS RANGERS hit the trails: Folks who signed up for VWR training (which was cancelled due to COVID) are accompanying our existing VWRs on their patrols, getting a head start for training day next year. If that is of interest to you, please send us an email.

Daytime TRAIL PROJECTS will be possible (the 4 overnight trips to deep backcountry lakes have been postponed to 2021 due to COVID). Watch for announcements.

WEED WARRIORS go native: As part of the ESWA WeedSpotter program, we thought it would be fun to take a look at our area's rich population of native plants as well!  The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail has agreed to a private tour of their lovely gardens on the afternoon of Thursday. August 13.  Space is limited, if you're interested send us an e-mail
July 2020
Dear *|FNAME|*

Greetings! Our topic this month:


National Outreach Manager at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Parents today face a challenge greater than any previous generation: how to combat the relentless assault on the lives of their children as invisible electromagnetic waves penetrate the sanctity of their once-secure homes, seducing with games, phones, and endless attractions of social media. Parental attempts especially to teach the values of the natural world - the value of solitude in wilderness, for example - are thwarted at every turn. One's inclination of course is to limit or prohibit a child's use of such devices during outside excursions. Below, however, Andrew Leary, Outreach Manager of Leave No Trace, suggests that we embrace the technology, and put it in service on behalf of the natural world. He leads a team that has created an entire program aimed at nurturing a sense of stewardship for the outdoors in young people.  

Reaching Today’s Young People with Leave No Trace
By Andrew Leary

Today’s Leave No Trace stewardship messaging grew out of a need to minimize impacts on public lands more than five decades ago. The Wilderness Act of 1964 was a major catalyst for more people spending time recreating on public lands. For many, the concept of Wilderness is synonymous with ideas like protection and stewardship. To reach the next generation of potential Wilderness stewards, however, we need to consider the role of the outdoors in their lives today. What may have been relevant for past generations of outdoor enthusiasts looks very different for today’s new outdoor recreationist.
Fig. 1. Data and graphics from the Outdoor Industry of America's 2019 Outdoor Participation Report

Close to Home Recreation
Today’s outdoor recreationist is experiencing settings that are predominantly not based in the backcountry. Data from a 2019 report from the Outdoor Industry of America (OIA) reveal that more than 63% of people travel only ten miles from their homes for their outdoor activities. Walk into any REI store and you will see the significance of that statistic. Yes, you may find backcountry items like tents, multiday backpacks, and sleeping bags on the back wall of your local REI, but think about the aisles that you first have to walk past: biking equipment, Yeti coolers, pet accessories, car camping items, and an always growing selection of outdoor running shoes. Close-to-home outdoor recreation is here and requires our attention if we want to help connect with the newest generation of outdoor recreationists.   

Leave No Trace: Beyond the Boundary
At its heart, Leave No Trace is rooted in values like responsibility, respect, and caring for the natural environment. For many young people who are just discovering the outdoors for the first time, however, close to home recreation opportunities may not be closely linked with these values seen through an outdoor lens. Let’s take Leave No Trace beyond the boundaries of public lands and help establish connections between young people’s daily lives and values for protecting the outdoors. Building values in young people can be extremely successful when done intentionally.
In a former life I was a YMCA summer camp director in Michigan. Frequently throughout the summer, I would receive emails or phone messages from parents whose children had been home from camp for about a week. “I don’t know what you all taught our son, but since coming home from camp he sets the dinner table, helps to serve food, and clears the table without [the parents] having to ask! Thank you!” It wasn’t until later in my professional career that I realized that what those parents were experiencing was the result of daily interactions with responsibility at camp. You see for two weeks, every day the entire camp would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the dining hall. For each one of those days, a pair of campers would be assigned to set the tables before- and clean up after each meal. Additionally, the food was served family style so at any given time when a serving bowl of food would empty, someone from the table would go get a refill from the kitchen staff.

As I reflect back on those camp occurrences now, there is no way that a young person would have brought home that level of responsibility if they had only encountered those meal duties once or twice throughout the two-week camp session. Therein lies the key: regular interactions with values and their associated modeled behaviors. The same exact thing can be said for Leave No Trace. If we bring stewardship values and messaging into young people’s lives through frequent, close-to-home outdoor recreation like biking, fishing, jogging, car camping, or hiking (a list of the top five most popular activities for young people aged 6 to 17 years old according to OIA), there is a far greater likelihood that those values for protecting the outdoors will carry over to those less-frequented trips into Wilderness. We can go a step closer to home by engaging young people in what it means to be responsible, respectful, and caring towards the outdoors in gardens, parkways, and local community parks. It counts; it all matters.

Technology and Social Media
While the frequency of learning opportunities will help shape a young person’s outdoor ethic, so too will its relevance in their own lives. One way to approach stewardship is through technology and social media. I’ll go as far to say that seeking out natural backdrops to take photos or selfies for social media is the newest form of outdoor recreation. Whatever your opinion may be of technology and the outdoors, I encourage you to be respectful of someone’s choice to use technology in the outdoors and see it as an enormous opportunity to promote Leave No Trace ethics.
According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of American teenagers aged 13-17 have access to a smart phone. Additionally, this same group enjoys spending time on apps like YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, and Facebook. Unsurprisingly, traditional education (even environmental education) has rejected or prohibited this type of technology use. Yes, there are shocking statistics related to screen time and mental health issues in our society. We need less screen time. It’s pretty clear to me, however, that social media is the dominant form of media. What if instead of following the “party line” we took an approach that encouraged young people to use technology to help spread the message about protecting the outdoors? Today’s young people are hyper proficient with the hardware, the software, and enjoy spending time on both! What if every photo that was taken in Ptarmigan Peak, Holy Cross, and Eagles Nest Wilderness Areas included a message of stewardship and promoting Leave No Trace?  
If we can invest our collective and individual energies into more frequent and relevant stewardship messages, I think there is a bright future for protecting public lands and overall responsibility for the environment. Let’s invite more diversity of age and color into the environmental movement by intentionally making it more inclusive, celebrating what is new rather than making it conform to the past. Thank you to all of you who make Summit and Eagle County outdoor experience a little bit more enjoyable by educating the public about Leave No Trace. 
Tips and considerations for reaching today’s young people with Leave No Trace:
  • Someone doesn’t have to be an expert in Leave No Trace when they are outdoors. Doing anything, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing at all.
  • You don’t have to spend time in “the great outdoors” to increase your connection to nature—help young people find those connections at home and in local communities
  • Taking outdoor photos and selfies are forms of outdoor recreation for today’s young people. Prohibition of these elements in the Leave No Trace movement will have very negative consequences for the future. Check out Leave No Trace’s Social Media Discussion Guide, which explores the intersection of Leave No Trace education and social media literacy.
  • Youth-serving programs that take kids into the outdoors are essential to teaching young people about the natural world and increasing their affinity for nature. How can you lend your Leave No Trace skill set to these organizations and their staff?
  • Leave No Trace are a set of guidelines, not the rules of the outdoors.
  • Through this lens of seeing Leave No Trace as a value system, consider how you can use the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to remind people what actions they can take to protect the outdoors. 

Andrew Leary is the National Outreach Manager at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in Boulder, CO. As a member of the Center's Education Team, Andrew designs outcomes-driven education programs for adults, youth, and the tourism industry. He is a native of the midwest but calls Colorado home with his wife, 5 month old son, and black lab. Outside of Leave No Trace, Andrew is an expedition ski guide for Polar Explorers, a Chicago-based company that leads expeditions to the North Pole, South Pole, and Greenland. 
POSTSCRIPT: Can you name the
Here is ESWA's handy mnemonic in 7 words:
1. Future - plan ahead (maps, rules, etc)
2. Footing - stay on durable surfaces
3. Fire - fire rings are ugly. Consider using a stove instead
4. Filth - do right with poop and garbage
5. Flora - leave it - flowers, artifacts, etc.
6. Fauna - don't harass the critters
7. Friends - those campers over there appreciate quiet
An expanded version is HERE and the official LNT website is HERE.
A huge thanks to ARAPAHOE BASIN SKI AREAFor more than two decades, A-Basin staff have donated generously to their Employee Environmental Fund, of which ESWA has been a steady beneficiary. Last year, more than 150 employees donated, led by A-Basin Director Alan Henceroth. Our enduring THANKS!
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Check out other recent monthly eNewsletters
Hard copy newsletterThe Spring-Summer 2020 hard copy newsletter was just mailed. it is chock full of information about our 2020 season and the adjustments due to the pandeimic. If you didn't receive your copy, then we don't have your mailing address. Please send an email to us with your mailing address. The newsletter contains about two dozen fun and informative articles about us - past, present, and future. 
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