Coconino NF offers Leave No Trace events in Oak Creek Canyon this weekend

Release Date: May 16, 2023

SEDONA, Ariz., May 16, 2023 — The Coconino National Forest and participating partners will host a series of free events this weekend aimed at promoting Leave No Trace principles among public land visitors.

Beginning Saturday, a Leave No Trace (LNT) team sponsored by Subaru will work with the Coconino NF, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Slide Rock State Park and several other non-governmental organizations to provide information and volunteer opportunities to area visitors, volunteers and community members.

“These efforts include a series of targeted workshops for local land managers, partners and volunteers, as well as community outreach events for the public conducted by expert Leave No Trace educators,” said Dana Watts, executive director of the Leave No Trace organization.

The LNT organization uses its Hot Spot program to send mobile educators to various popular outdoor areas across the country that have experienced heavy recreational use. Often, high visitation to these areas has resulted in problems such as excessive trash, damage to vegetation, trail erosion and wildlife disturbance.

LNT’s Hot Spot program aims to provide area visitors with more information about how to mitigate human-caused impact to popular recreation areas.

Oak Creek Canyon was selected as a “Hot Spot” location because LNT considers it a heavily visited and damaged area that could recover with the implementation of LNT practices.

“Our goal is to put these Hot Spot areas on the road to recovery, while also creating aspirational guidance and recommendations for public lands across the globe,” Watts added.

Partner organizations include the Arizona Office of Tourism, ExplorUS, Friends of the Forest, the Oak Creek Watershed Council and the Sedona Westerners Hiking Club.

“Oak Creek Canyon is a very special and beautiful place that receives thousands of visitors annually,” said Brian Poturalski, recreation program manager for the Coconino NF. “It’s important that we, as community stewards, instill light on the land ethics with our forest visitors.”

The following events are open to the public:

Saturday, May 20, 2023: Staff from the Coconino NF (including Smokey Bear), Leave No Trace, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, ExplorUS and Friends of the Forest will be onsite educating visitors about Leave No Trace.

9 to 11:30 a.m.: Crescent Moon Picnic Site

1 to 4 p.m.: Slide Rock State Park

Sunday, May 21, 2023: Oak Creek Headwaters Clean-Up/Stewardship event. Join Leave No Trace, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Coconino NF from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a family-friendly volunteer day cleaning up the designated dispersed camping area on Forest Road 237. Participants are encouraged to bring drinking water and snacks, dress appropriately for the occasion, and to meet at the dispersed camping area near the junction of Highway 89A and Forest Road 237.