The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teamed up to create a set of principles aimed at guiding travelers to show care for the state’s water, land and wildlife while helping protect special Colorado places.
The Leave No Trace – Care for Colorado Principles, developed through a first-of-its-kind partnership announced in October 2017, are available on Colorado.com and in a new “Are You Colo-Ready?” brochure available to visitors at all ten Colorado Welcome Centers. Also available as a download, the brochure includes packing advice and tips on how to travel like a local, such as guidance on operating bear-proof trash cans.
“Our take on the classic Leave No Trace Seven Principles are a direct response to the heartfelt concerns many Coloradans express about the impacts of visitation on the places they love,” said CTO Director Cathy Ritter. “By sharing these Care for Colorado Principles, we can empower travelers to join us in protecting the very qualities that attracted them to visit our state in the first place.”
The CTO and Leave No Trace also are developing collaborations with other tourism industry groups both to educate their guests and codify their own best practices as models for others in their industry. To date, discussions are underway with the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association and the Colorado River Outfitters Association.
"Colorado's unparalleled natural resources deserve the highest level of protection, and Leave No Trace provides easy, doable solutions that make a real difference in preserving natural areas," said Dana Watts, executive director of Leave No Trace. "We are thrilled to be launching these principles with the CTO and hope to reach millions through this important partnership.”
The CTO and Leave No Trace joined in a memorandum of understanding last October with a shared goal of encouraging the state’s 82 million visitors to be active stewards of Colorado’s precious natural resources and cultural artifacts. The state partnership was a first for Boulder-based Leave No Trace, which has long-time strategic alliances with the federal public lands agencies, leading outdoor retailers and Subaru.
The partnership stemmed from a stewardship initiative in the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, a three- to five-year strategic plan to build the Colorado tourism industry’s competitive advantage.
Leave No Trace – Care For Colorado Principles:
Know Before You Go
- This land really is your land. Our state and federal agencies manage 42 percent of Colorado’s majestic landscape, and our cities and counties maintain even more. Learn about and respect the spaces we all own, share and sing about.
- Stay back from the pack. Find your way to less-visited and off-peak destinations to minimize down time and maximize your connection with special places.
- Bring along reusable water bottles or hot drink tumblers to limit waste and stay hydrated in our dry climate.
Stick To Trails
- With 39,000 marked trails and 13,000 designated campsites, there’s no need to venture beyond. By sticking to these areas and camping at least 200 feet from lakes, rivers and streams, you’re helping natural areas stay natural.
- Even though shortcuts can be tempting, please don’t take them. A few extra strides on the path will protect plants and the homes of the true locals.
Trash the Trash
- Pack it in, pack it out. Or pick it up to leave a place better than you found it. Put litter, even crumbs, peels and cores in your nearest waste/recycling bin.
- Wash yourself, your dog or whatever else needs cleaning at least 200 feet from waterways, and use biodegradable soap. A bubble bath is no treat for fish.
Leave It As You Find It
- Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others experience the joy of discovery.
- Any of our 750 different species of wildflowers will live forever in a photo. Snap away, but only with a camera.
- Colorado is beautiful all on its own. Building structures or campsites on public land isn’t cool. Keep it pristine for everyone to enjoy.
- Treat all living things with respect. Carving or hacking plants and trees may kill or disfigure them.
Be Careful With Fire
- Colorado’s low humidity has perks, but can create dry, dangerous conditions. Keep campfires small and manageable to avoid sparking wildfires.
- When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers. Never let a fire burn unattended.
- Use care when smoking in Colorado’s dry climate. Always put cigarettes out completely, and don’t leave your butts behind.
Keep Wildlife Wild
- Colorado is home to tens of thousands of furry, scaly and feathered creatures. To keep them – and you – safe, don’t approach them.
- It is not adorable to feed wild animals. You could alter natural behaviors, exposing them to predators or even euthanasia.
- Keep your furry buddies leashed when enjoying dog-friendly trails, and pack out their waste. All the way to a trashcan.
Share Our Trails & Parks
- Chances are you’re not out in nature to people watch, so try out the lesser-known paths and sites.
- Silence your cell phone before stepping into nature, and speak softly without using the speaker function.
- Be considerate when passing others on the trails and yield to the uphill hiker and biker – they need the momentum.
- Listen to nature. Keep your voice and music soft so all can enjoy the peace of Colorado.