Want to be respon­si­ble and act sus­tain­ably in the back­coun­try, but don’t know where to start? Look no fur­ther. Leave No Trace (LNT) is a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides pro­tec­tion for the out­doors “by teach­ing and inspir­ing peo­ple to enjoy it responsibly.”

Over the years they’ve iden­ti­fied these sev­en prin­ci­ples to help thought­ful adven­tur­ers keep wild places pristine.

Prin­ci­ple 1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
Exe­cut­ing a suc­cess­ful back­coun­try mis­sion starts long before you hit the trail­head. Do your home­work before you leave: know the reg­u­la­tions and any par­tic­u­lar envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns for the areas you’ll be vis­it­ing. Check the fore­cast to avoid get­ting caught in extreme weath­er. Repack­age food to min­i­mize waste. And when­ev­er pos­si­ble, sched­ule your trip to avoid the area’s times of high­est use.

Prin­ci­ple 2. Trav­el & Camp on Durable Surfaces
While it can be tempt­ing to romp across a ver­dant mead­ow Sound of Music-style, you may well be tram­pling del­i­cate veg­e­ta­tion. By trav­el­ing and camp­ing on durable sur­faces (which include estab­lished hik­ing trails and camp­sites, rocks, grav­el, dry grass­es, and snow), you’ll min­i­mize your group’s impacts on the local ecosys­tem. Pro­tect ripar­i­an zones by camp­ing at least 200 feet from lakes and streams, and keep camp­sites small. Ask your­self: if every vis­i­tor to this place camped here, what would it look like in five years?

Prin­ci­ple 3. Dis­pose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out. This applies to trash (plas­tic, wrap­pers, food pack­ag­ing) and food waste (left­over edi­bles, sun­flower seed shells, apple cores, etc.)—but it also applies to human waste. Poo pro­to­col varies depend­ing on what kind of ter­rain you’re trav­el­ing through and the area’s fed­er­al des­ig­na­tion, so check with local autho­rizes for guidance.

Prin­ci­ple 4. Leave What You Find
If you love it, leave it wild. Resist the urge to steal that sum­mit rock or inter­est­ing ani­mal bone. Avoid intro­duc­ing or trans­port­ing non-native species, and be par­tic­u­lar­ly care­ful around cul­tur­al or his­toric struc­tures and arti­facts. Enjoy the sights, take lots of pho­tos, and drink it all in—just don’t take it home.

Prin­ci­ple 5. Min­i­mize Camp­fire Impacts
Camp­fires can have last­ing impacts in the back­coun­try, so only burn where fires are per­mit­ted. For cook­ing, use your camp stove instead of fire or cold-soak your meals. When­ev­er pos­si­ble, use estab­lished fire rings. Keep fires small, and have enough water on hand to put out an unex­pect­ed spark. And last­ly, nev­er leave a fire unat­tend­ed. Rather, if you’re leav­ing your camp­site or going to sleep, always be sure to thor­ough­ly extin­guish your fire.

Prin­ci­ple 6. Respect Wildlife
Catch­ing glimpses of wildlife can be one of the most thrilling parts of a back­coun­try experience—but it’s impor­tant not to feed, fol­low, or approach them. Store your food and trash prop­er­ly and accord­ing to loca­tion best prac­tices, and con­trol pets at all times. Most impor­tant­ly, give ani­mals plen­ty of space at all times, but espe­cial­ly dur­ing their most sen­si­tive times: mat­ing sea­son, nest­ing, rais­ing young, or dur­ing the deep win­ter months. As a rule of thumb, if a wild ani­mal’s behav­ior is chang­ing in any way because of your pres­ence, you’re too close.

Prin­ci­ple 7. Be Con­sid­er­ate of Oth­er Visitors
Respect oth­er vis­i­tors. Be cour­te­ous and yield to oth­er users on the trail. (In most cas­es, peo­ple going uphill have right of way.) And man­age your group’s audi­to­ry impacts, too—avoid loud music, shout­ing, and oth­er dis­tract­ing nois­es when they could impact the expe­ri­ence of others.

In clos­ing thoughts, you or some­one you know might be tempt­ed to say, “I’m just one per­son, how much harm could I real­ly do to the envi­ron­ment?” But this is wrong. Yes, one per­son is like­ly to make lit­tle impact, but no man is an island. Hun­dreds or even thou­sands of peo­ple might be think­ing the same thing. Do your best to fol­low, but also spread the word about the best prac­tices to leave no trace.

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The ques­tion of how to care for wilder­ness has per­me­at­ed US his­to­ry since the nation’s begin­ning. In 2017, there will be no short­age of envi­ron­men­tal issues to keep your eyes on.

bears earsBears Ears
At the end of 2016 and his pres­i­den­cy, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma used the Antiq­ui­ties Act to des­ig­nate two new nation­al mon­u­ments-Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada.

Utah Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rob Bish­op ® is lead­ing the charge to over­turn Bears Ears Nation­al Mon­u­ment. Accord­ing to Rep. Bish­op, the cre­ation of this new nation­al mon­u­ment denies local interests.

Pro­po­nents of Bears Ears believe that pro­tec­tion is vital to ensur­ing that future gen­er­a­tions can access the wilder­ness and rich his­to­ry of the region.

Over­turn­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s Procla­ma­tion would be a chal­lenge for oppo­nents. In fact, no sit­ting pres­i­dent has ever over­turned a for­mer president’s designation.

House Joint Res­o­lu­tion 46 Over­turn­ing Rules on Drilling in Nation­al Parks
Some nation­al parks exist in a “split estate” own­er­ship agree­ment. While the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment oper­ates parks on the land’s sur­face, pri­vate rights exist for min­er­als and oth­er resources below the sur­face. In Novem­ber, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma strength­ened the rights of the nation­al parks to reg­u­late activ­i­ties such as drilling and min­ing with­in park borders.

Ari­zona con­gress­man Paul Gosar would like to see those changes rescind­ed, argu­ing that they rep­re­sent a last-minute attempt by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to inter­fere with pri­vate enter­prise. Sup­port­ers of HJ Res. 46 argue that it restores that pub­lic-pri­vate balance.

For envi­ron­men­tal­ists and parks sup­port­ers, the res­o­lu­tion is an attempt to weak­en nec­es­sary pro­tec­tions and observe the true spir­it of the park sys­tem: to keep wild places beau­ti­ful for the enjoy­ment of the people.

Endangered SpeciesRepeal of Endan­gered Species Act
The Endan­gered Species Act sets cri­te­ria for pro­tect­ing ani­mals and plants con­sid­ered to be at risk. The act’s imple­men­ta­tion has nev­er been sim­ple: decid­ing how best to sup­port ecosys­tems in bal­ance with human inter­ests is a tricky prospect.

Cre­at­ed in 1973, the ESA is cred­it­ed with pro­tec­tion of more than a thou­sand species. Ten species pro­tect­ed by the act have gone extinct with­in its his­to­ry. Among the 394 nation­al parks in the US, 204 are home to at least one endan­gered species.

Oppo­nents of the ESA argue that the act is exces­sive­ly strict and that few species list are ever de-list­ed, regard­less their success.

photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tarsandsaction/

Key­stone XL and Dako­ta Access Pipelines
Two pre­vi­ous­ly halt­ed, con­tentious pipeline projects are back on the agenda.

In Novem­ber 2015, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma reject­ed Tran­sCana­da Corporation’s Key­stone XL project, a por­tion of oil pipeline intend­ed to stretch 1,200 miles from the tar sands of Alber­ta, Cana­da to an exist­ing pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska.

In Decem­ber of 2016, fol­low­ing months of protest, the Army Corps of Engi­neers halt­ed con­struc­tion on the Dako­ta Access Pipeline, a pro­posed four-state route of pipeline from North Dako­ta to South­ern Illi­nois, to con­sid­er alter­na­tive routes.

Through exec­u­tive action, Pres­i­dent Trump has pro­mot­ed the approval of both projects.

Envi­ron­men­tal­ists fight­ing Key­stone XL have cit­ed con­cerns about the extrac­tion process—oil pumped from tar sands pro­duces green­house gas­es at a lev­el 17% high­er than stan­dard crude extraction—and about the poten­tial for leaks, espe­cial­ly where the project’s route would run through the Ogal­lala Aquifer, a pri­ma­ry Mid­west water source.

Dako­ta Access Pipeline activists opposed the pipeline’s route, which cross­es beneath Lake Oahe, a local trib­al water source and sacred site. Fears of leaks and oth­er haz­ards are among pri­ma­ry concerns.

From the fox­es, cranes, and grouse who inhab­it the areas sur­round­ing the Key­stone route to the nine threat­ened and endan­gered species who roam in and near the Dako­ta Access route, con­struc­tion of either could impact  wildlife habi­tats.

Sup­port­ers of the projects con­tend that trans­port­ing oil via rail is more haz­ardous than send­ing it through pipelines. And more than 2.4 mil­lion miles of ener­gy pipeline already exist in the US. For oppo­nents, each new project reasserts US depen­den­cy on oil.

Fed­er­al vs. Local Control
Most of the envi­ron­men­tal con­tro­ver­sies that will arise this year will deal with two oppos­ing perspectives.

Sup­port­ers of fed­er­al­ly admin­is­tered land will argue that strong pro­tec­tion for nature and wildlife main­tain the nation’s beau­ty and eco­log­i­cal health, while advo­cates for states’ rights and local con­trol argue fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions don’t account for eco­nom­ics and diverse man­age­ment solutions.

115-miles south of Moab is a land revered by gen­er­a­tions of climbers, hik­ers, and adven­tur­ers. It’s a land known as the Bears Ears, a series of buttes that con­sti­tute jeep trails, sacred arche­o­log­i­cal sites, unique sand­stone for­ma­tions, and the cher­ished climb­ing walls of Indi­an Creek. Not only loved by out­doors­man, the Bears Ears is also an impor­tant area to the Nava­jo, Ute, and Pueblo Native Amer­i­can tribes. Exca­va­tions here have revealed rock art, pot­tery, and cliff dwellings, doc­u­ment­ing over a mil­len­ni­um of human habi­ta­tion. The Bears Ears are loved, but unpro­tect­ed, and they are at a piv­otal crossroads.

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Fight­ing to Become a Nation­al Monument
The Bears Ears have not been declared a nation­al mon­u­ment, lead­ing to lim­it­ed pro­tec­tion, and open to min­er­al extrac­tion, and oil and gas devel­op­ment as well as the loot­ing of arche­o­log­i­cal sites and defac­ing Native Amer­i­can wall art.

In 2013, Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Rob Bish­op and Jason Chaf­fetz (R, Utah) intro­duced the Utah Pub­lic Lands Ini­tia­tive, offer­ing var­i­ous pro­pos­als, which was “root­ed in the belief that con­ser­va­tion and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment can coex­ist and make Utah a bet­ter place to live, work, and vis­it.” Some of the pro­pos­als sug­gest­ed declar­ing a Nation­al Con­ser­va­tion Area, while oth­ers want­ed to give the area full pro­tec­tion as a Nation­al Monument.

The dif­fer­ence between a Nation­al Con­ser­va­tion Area and a Nation­al Mon­u­ment is a lit­tle blurred. The pres­i­dent, using Theodore Roosevelt’s Antiq­ui­ties Act of 1906, may only declare a Nation­al Mon­u­ment by pres­i­den­tial procla­ma­tion. A Nation­al Con­ser­va­tion Area is formed under the BLM’s Land­scape Con­ser­va­tion Sys­tem of 2000. Nation­al Mon­u­ments fall under the admin­is­tra­tion of the Nation­al Park Ser­vice and the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or, while Nation­al Con­ser­va­tion Areas are admin­is­tered by the Bureau of Land Management.

Oppo­si­tion to the Bill
The oppo­si­tion claims that a major­i­ty of the tribes who sup­port a mon­u­ment are from most­ly out-of-state, includ­ing Cal­i­for­nia, Col­orado, New Mex­i­co, and Ari­zona. On Jan­u­ary 20th, 2016, Chaf­fetz and Bish­op released a long-await­ed Dis­cus­sion Draft, which would take into account all the meet­ings with var­i­ous trib­al coun­cils and BLM authorities.

In response to the bill, which some tribes felt that the bill didn’t include full rep­re­sen­ta­tion by Native Amer­i­cans, the Bears Ears Inter-trib­al Coali­tion formed between five tribes with the goal of receiv­ing full nation­al mon­u­ment des­ig­na­tion, includ­ing peti­tion­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and mem­bers of Con­gress. The tribes felt that although the Utah Pub­lic Lands Ini­tia­tive aimed to pro­tect both com­mer­cial and Native Amer­i­can inter­ests, it didn’t do enough to pre­serve key arche­o­log­i­cal sites and wildlife refuges.

Fur­ther­more, the Inter-trib­al coali­tion claimed that the bill puts lim­i­ta­tions on the 1906 Antiq­ui­ties Act, and placed empha­sis on fed­er­al author­i­ties and not ele­vat­ing the voic­es of Native Amer­i­cans as equal.

Use of the Land for Nat­ur­al Resources
One of the biggest threats to the Bears Ears area is con­cen­trat­ed around the Cedar and Tank Mesas, which was recent­ly approved as an ‘Ener­gy Zone’ by the Utah leg­is­la­ture, who declared that the ‘high­est and best use’ of Cedar Mesa and San Rafael Swell was for graz­ing, min­er­al extrac­tion, and oil explo­ration. The Bears Ears Coali­tion con­tends that they are not against ener­gy devel­op­ment; they feel that the land is too great­ly valu­able to deface.

Fur­ther­more, the Bears Ears are unpro­tect­ed from van­dal­ism and loot­ing. Rock art has been van­dal­ized by graf­fi­ti, and campers tore down a hogan, a 19th cen­tu­ry Nava­jo home, in 2012 for firewood.

This year, the move­ment towards cre­at­ing a Nation­al Mon­u­ment received a boost with endorse­ments from The Salt Lake Tri­bune and Los Ange­les Times. The Tri­bune stat­ed “…preser­va­tion is, in so many cas­es, in the long-term inter­ests of Utahns, both native and newcomer.”

The Out­door Indus­try is Step­ping Up
The out­door com­pa­ny Patag­o­nia, who released a film in col­lab­o­ra­tion with climber Josh Ewing, has fur­ther sup­port­ed the move­ment, tak­ing the view­point of the thou­sands of climbers who inhab­it Indi­an Creek. After mov­ing to Bluff, Utah, Ewing saw the effect of ener­gy com­pa­nies, and used his influ­ence to push for conservation.

This sum­mer, Inte­ri­or Sec­re­tary Sal­ly Jew­ell plans to tour Utah, and while she did not men­tion Bears Ears by name, Jew­ell stat­ed the inten­tion to pro­tect sites that hon­or her­itage and cul­ture as well as explor­ing bet­ter plan­ning for devel­op­ing resources. In the same tour, Jew­ell will also explore the cor­re­la­tion between the strength of out­door recre­ation and a strong economy.

The sup­port for cre­at­ing a Nation­al Mon­u­ment has grown to over­whelm­ing lev­els. After back and forth debate between the out­door com­mu­ni­ty, trib­al lead­ers, and the pri­vate sec­tor, it’s now up to Wash­ing­ton to make the final decision.

Ask a ran­dom per­son who they asso­ciate with wilder­ness, and they’ll prob­a­bly say John Muir, Ansel Adams or Ted­dy Roo­sevelt. Most out­doors folks also know the names Aldo Leopold, Gif­ford Pin­chot and Bob Mar­shall. And right­ly so: they all played a key role in the wilder­ness move­ment. But behind these icons are many less­er-known peo­ple, old and mod­ern, who have put their stamp on our wild places. Even if you’ve nev­er heard of them, you’ve ben­e­fit­ted from their work.

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Frank Church
FrankChurchThe Frank Church Riv­er of No Return Wilder­ness in Cen­tral Ida­ho is the largest Amer­i­can wilder­ness out­side of Alas­ka. It includes the famed Mid­dle Fork of the Salmon Riv­er, the main stem Salmon and the adjoin­ing Gospel Hump. Few of the rafters who queue for per­mits know that Ida­ho Sen­a­tor Frank Church had his hands on almost every piece of wilder­ness leg­is­la­tion, a tough propo­si­tion for a pro-envi­ron­ment Demo­c­rat from con­ser­v­a­tive Ida­ho. He led the cam­paign to pro­tect the Saw­tooths and Hells Canyon and was the floor spon­sor of the 1964 Wilder­ness Act and the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Riv­er of No Return Wilder­ness was the crow­ing glo­ry in his career: he intro­duced the bill in 1980, his last year in the Senate.

Mar­jo­ry Stone­man Douglas
Marjory_S_Douglas_Friends_photoMar­jo­ry Stone­man Dou­glas first encoun­tered the Ever­glades as a writer for the Mia­mi Her­ald in 1940, and began writ­ing about it in earnest as a free­lancer. The result was The Riv­er of Grass, pub­lished in 1947, which made the Ever­glades a house­hold name. The first print­ing sold out in under a month. Com­pared to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in its impact, it changed the nation­al view of the Ever­glades from a worth­less swamp to a wildlife-rich trea­sure. The nation’s entire view of wet­lands shift­ed. She stood watch over the Ever­glades until her death in 1998 at the ten­der young age of 108.

Andy Kerr, Tim Lille­bo, Reg­na Mer­rit and Wen­dell Wood
The pow­er quar­tet of the Ore­gon Nat­ur­al Resources Coun­cil (Now Ore­gon Wild) adopt­ed a bare-knuck­led style that put ancient forests on the nation­al radar screen in their fight to pro­tect the Northwest’s forests of the 1980s and 90s. The long strug­gle wres­tled (and still wres­tles) with the eco­log­i­cal impacts of log­ging, the tran­si­tion away from a tim­ber-based econ­o­my and the endur­ing val­ue of forests to clean water and human health. Kerr, who still works on con­ser­va­tion issues in Ash­land and Wash­ing­ton D.C., became a light­ing rod for crit­ics. Lille­bo and Wood fought tire­less­ly to pro­tect their home forests in Cen­tral Ore­gon and the Kla­math Basin until their deaths in 2014 and 2015. Mer­rit now works to pro­tect the Colum­bia Riv­er from fuel trains and the risk of a cat­a­stroph­ic spill.

Olaus and Mardy Murie
Olaus_and_Mardy_MurieMar­garet and Olaus Murie were mar­ried at 3 a.m. in 1924, under the mid­night sun on the bank of the Yukon Riv­er. Their hon­ey­moon was a bit non-tra­di­tion­al: a 500-mile dogsled and boat jour­ney study­ing the move­ments of bar­ren-ground cari­bou. Wilder­ness and wildlife gov­erned their lives, from elk in Jack­son Hole, fox­es in the Aleu­tians and urg­ing Franklin Roo­sevelt to incor­po­rate ecosys­tem bound­aries into Olympic Nation­al Park. A trip to the Sheen­jek Riv­er in Alaska’s Brooks Range in 1956 inspired a cam­paign for a mas­sive pro­tect­ed area in the high arc­tic large enough to pro­tect a ful­ly func­tion­ing ecosys­tem. The first result was Gates of the Arc­tic Nation­al Park. The larg­er impact was a seis­mic shift in land con­ser­va­tion from small scenic areas to vast swaths that could sus­tain wildlife pop­u­la­tions, which lat­er found its expres­sion in the Arc­tic Nation­al Wildlife Refuge. Mardy helped block sev­er­al attempts to open the Arc­tic Nation­al Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling until she died at 102.

Rod­er­ick Nash
A white­wa­ter rafter who made the first descent of the Tuolumne Riv­er, Nash was a grad­u­ate stu­dent when he pub­lished his dis­ser­ta­tion in book form in 1967. Wilder­ness and the Amer­i­can Mind was a ground­break­ing: it launched envi­ron­men­tal his­to­ry as a seri­ous pur­suit. After wit­ness­ing an oil spill near San­ta Bar­bara two years lat­er, he launched one of the nation’s first Envi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies pro­grams at UCSB, start­ing with only 12 stu­dents. It’s since pro­duced over 4,000 grad­u­ates and made envi­ron­men­tal stud­ies a career path.

Paul Pet­zoldt
Nash bred gen­er­a­tions of envi­ron­men­tal schol­ars and pol­i­cy wonks; Pet­zoldt bred climbers, skiers and kayak­ers. When he first climbed the Grand Teton at age 16 in cow­boy boots, he real­ized new tech­niques and prepa­ra­tion were need­ed. He for­mal­ized climb­ing pro­to­cols, start­ed the Teton’s first guide con­ces­sion and was part of the first Amer­i­can expe­di­tion to K2. In the Sec­ond World War he taught moun­tain safe­ty to the leg­endary 10th Moun­tain Divi­sion. But his true mark on wilder­ness was the 1965 found­ing of the Nation­al Out­door Lead­er­ship School, which teach­es peo­ple to be inspired by the out­doors and lead groups safe­ly. Half a cen­tu­ry lat­er, it’s still the worlds’ pre­em­i­nent out­door lead­er­ship acad­e­my with over 120,000 alum­ni and counting.

William Wordsworth
Benjamin_Robert_Haydon_002You’re prob­a­bly won­der­ing what a British poet is doing on a list of Amer­i­can wilder­ness advo­cates. Wordsworth and his fel­low Roman­tic Poets launched the move­ment to recon­nect with nature that made the wilder­ness move­ment pos­si­ble. His ram­bles around the Lake Dis­trict con­vinced him that raw nature, not civ­i­liza­tion, was where the human spir­it was most inspired, rekin­dled and able to see larg­er truths. With­out him, wilder­ness would have still been as it had been before: as threat­en­ing rather than inspiring.

Howard Zah­nis­er
Sept_04_wildernessWordsworth is the famous poet, but Zah­nis­er, far from a house­hold name, wrote some­thing equal­ly impor­tant: the Wilder­ness Act. Along with the Muries, Zah­nis­er was a dri­ving force in the long move­ment to con­gres­sion­al sup­port of a nation­al wilder­ness sys­tem. He went through 66 drafts and steered the bill through 18 sub­com­mit­tee hear­ings. Most laws are writ­ten in dry legalese, but the Wilder­ness Act con­tains some poet­ic lan­guage about nature that still guides our legal and spir­i­tu­al def­i­n­i­tion of what wild tru­ly means. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Zah­nis­er didn’t live to see the Act passed. He died just before its pas­sage in 1964.

Three Guys from New Jersey
Brock Evans, long­time leader in the Wilder­ness move­ment, tells a sto­ry about how three peo­ple from New Jer­sey saved Misty Fjords Nation­al Mon­u­ment in Alas­ka. Dur­ing the Con­gres­sion­al markup ses­sions on an Alas­ka wilder­ness bill, a crit­i­cal Con­gress­man from New Jer­sey who rep­re­sent­ed the swing vote began vot­ing against pre­serv­ing Misty Fjords. Evans and his col­leagues were unable to sway him. The night before a crit­i­cal vote, Evans scoured Audubon’s phone list, and was able to reach three peo­ple in his home dis­trict. All three called the Congressman’s office the next morn­ing right before he left for the crit­i­cal floor vote. Those phone calls cre­at­ed just enough pres­sure at the right time to change his vote. Pro­tect­ing wild places is usu­al­ly the result of many small actions by a lot of peo­ple. The next cru­cial phone call could be made by you.

Over 30,000 ele­phants are killed every year for their ivory – that is one ele­phant every 15 min­utes. The Ele­phant Cri­sis Fund has one goal – to end the ivory cri­sis. The Clymb is proud to part­ner with our friends over at the ECF to help share their mes­sage with the out­door community.

Addi­tion­ally, Sep­tem­ber 9th, The Clymb will be donat­ing 10% of all pro­ceeds from mer­chan­dise sales and Tan­za­nia Safari Trip pur­chas­es to the Ele­phant Cri­sis Fund. If you would like to donate direct­ly to the ECF, please fol­low this link.

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About The Ele­phant Cri­sis Fund

The Ele­phant Cri­sis Fund is a joint ini­tia­tive between the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Net­work and Save The Ele­phants. Unit­ed around the sin­gle goal of end­ing the ivory trade, the ECF sup­ports a glob­al coali­tion of NGO’s, sci­en­tists, thought lead­ers, and gov­ern­ments. So far, the ECF has been suc­cess­ful in invest­ing over $7 mil­lion into 105 projects span­ning 52 orga­ni­za­tions and 22 coun­tries. The ECF allo­cates cru­cial dona­tions to projects and orga­ni­za­tions, with 100% of funds going direct­ly into the field to help com­bat ivory poach­ers and traffickers.

Every dol­lar mat­ters when it comes to sav­ing ele­phants and the ECF is just over halfway to their $15 mil­lion fundrais­ing goal. The ECF is tak­ing to social media with the #Kno­tOn­My­Plan­et cam­paign to close in on their target.

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Get Involved

#Kno­tOn­My­Plan­et is a cam­paign that aims to pro­vide a secure future for ele­phants by rais­ing funds and aware­ness for the Ele­phant Cri­sis Fund. #Kno­tOn­My­Plan­et pays homage to one of the key char­ac­ter­is­tics that make ele­phants amaz­ing — their memory.

We tie knots to remem­ber — around our fin­gers, wrists, doors, trees, etc. This Sep­tem­ber, we’re tying knots to show that we will nev­er for­get ele­phants. The #Kno­tOn­My­Plan­et cam­paign encour­ages the out­door com­mu­ni­ty to tie a knot to remem­ber ele­phants and share their knot pho­to across social media channels.

Tie your knot with climb­ing rope, a pair of hik­ing boots, a ban­dana — any­thing. Sim­ply share a pho­to using the hash­tag #Kno­tOn­My­Plan­et on Insta­gram, Face­bookTwit­ter, and Snapchat. Shar­ing a pho­to can go a long way in rais­ing aware­ness and spread­ing the ECF’s message.

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This cam­paign will reach more than a quar­ter of a bil­lion peo­ple through influ­encers, celebri­ties, brands, and com­pa­nies. Part­ners include the Leonar­do DiCaprio Foun­da­tion, Clin­ton Glob­al Ini­tia­tive, Snapchat, Edel­man, W Hotels, The Clymb, Endan­gered Species Choco­late, among others.

We hope you will join us. Togeth­er we can help end the ivory cri­sis and keep nature wild.

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©istockphoto/AlexBrylov

©istockphoto/AlexBrylovRock climb­ing as a recre­ation­al sport has grown immense­ly over the past few years. As more peo­ple flock to pop­u­lar crags around the world, it’s impor­tant to work even hard­er to reduce the dam­age we’re cre­at­ing in our wake. Here are a few tips for becom­ing a more envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly climber.

Clear the chalk 
If you’ve been to some of the crags around places like Boul­der, Col­orado recent­ly, you might’ve noticed that the rocks are start­ing to resem­ble graf­fi­ti-laced ware­hous­es in the Bronx more than they resem­ble a part of nature. All of the white stuff dot­ting the envi­ron­ment isn’t pret­ty, which is why we should reduce the amount we use and leave behind. Take a spritzer, tooth­brush, and water with you next time you climb and try and remove some chalk, whether it’s yours or not.

No more pruning
Some climbers, the boul­der­ing type in par­tic­u­lar, have a nasty habit of clear­ing out brush under­neath a climb so they can place their pads. When you do that, you’re clear­ing out some crea­ture’s nat­ur­al habi­tat. Instead, find a spot where you can gen­tly use a string to pull the branch back to make room if pos­si­ble. Oth­er­wise, con­sid­er pick­ing anoth­er spot to climb.

Stick to the trails
There are gen­er­al­ly trails set in place to reach the most pop­u­lar climb­ing routes in any area. Some climbers pre­fer to seek out short­cuts and use their feet to make new ones, dis­rupt­ing the local wildlife’s home to shave off a cou­ple min­utes of walk­ing. Slow down and stick to the most heav­i­ly used trails even if it takes longer to get there. Trust us, the route will still be there when you arrive.

Become a pick­up artist
As in, pick up your damn trash. It’s fine to slam some gra­nola on the trail, but it’s not cool to leave it there for the birds to clean up. News­flash: ani­mals don’t eat plas­tic. When you’re done with a route or boul­der, take a cou­ple of min­utes to cir­cle the area and pick up your left­over trash that might’ve fall­en to the ground, and maybe, if you’re feel­ing up to it,  pick up any extra trash you see lying around.

Use eco-friend­ly equipment
Most climb­ing gear is already fair­ly friend­ly to the envi­ron­ment, so this isn’t as big of an issue as some peo­ple try to make it. You still want to choose gear that’ll last for a long time instead of opt­ing for cheap crap. This is espe­cial­ly true for shoes – always aim for syn­thet­ic over leather to min­i­mize the impact on wildlife. There are even some out­fit­ters sell­ing spe­cial­ized climb­ing ropes that are bet­ter for the envi­ron­ment. Look around and do your research before mak­ing a pur­chase and you might even save a squir­rel or something.

Remove old bolts
Nobody wants to climb on a rusty bolt that’s seen one too many whip­pers for its time. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, some climbers either don’t know how to prop­er­ly replace bolts or just don’t care. Instead of leav­ing an old bolt and drilling a new hole near­by, take out the old one and use the same hole; if you have to widen it to fit a mod­ern anchor, that’s fine. In fact, it’s preferable.

These are just sim­ple, baby steps toward becom­ing a more envi­ron­men­tal­ly con­scious climber that’ll help us all in the long run. If you can think of more ways to reduce a climber’s car­bon foot­print, don’t hes­i­tate to share with your friends and community.