Colorado Springs selected as Hot Spot by Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics national program

Colorado Springs selected as Hot Spot by Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics national program

September 15, 2021 by Jennifer Peterson

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Springs has been chosen as a Hot Spot by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The city is one of ten Hot Spots selected nationwide to participate in this year’s education program. From Oct. 14-18, a Leave No Trace Team will work with rangers from the City’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services department as well as local park and recreation advocates to provide area visitors, land managers, volunteers and the local community with information, service work and education that reduces outdoor impacts and promotes responsible recreation. The team will be focused on lessening impacts in Palmer Park and Stratton Open Space.

“Leave No Trace has given us an amazing opportunity to get outside and increase awareness about the importance of stewarding our city’s world class parks and natural areas,” said Gillian Rossi, Colorado Springs park ranger supervisor for the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program. “Our department is a big supporter of the Leave No Trace Seven Principles, which guide how we manage our parks, striving to keep them healthy and sustainable. We are very much looking forward to the chance to partner with the community during what is sure to be an incredible and enlightening week.”

Leave No Trace has selected Hot Spot locations each year since 2010. Popular outdoor areas nationwide must apply to be selected for the program. Hot Spots typically experience heavy recreational use and human-created impacts, including excessive trash, damage to vegetation, trail erosion, disturbance to wildlife and more. Other 2021 Hot Spots are located in Page, Ariz.; Kerhonkson, N.Y.; Panthertown Valley, N.C.; Tulsa, Okla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Greenville, S.C.; Moab, Utah; Glen Jean, W.V.; and La Crosse, Wis.

“Hot Spot areas are damaged but can recover again with a motivated community and a comprehensive infusion of Leave No Trace programs,” said Dana Watts, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics executive director. “By identifying and working with Hot Spots and their communities across the country, Leave No Trace can rapidly move toward recovering and protecting the places we all cherish at a time when the outdoors has proven more critical than ever,” according to Erin Collier, one of the Subaru/Leave No Trace Team members who will be onsite to lead the work.

The following is a list of planned Hot Spot events that are free and open to the public in Colorado Springs. To view the full schedule of programs and volunteer events, visit Some programs require online registration.

Thursday, Oct. 14

6-8 p.m.                      Leave No Trace Outreach Evening

Location: Fossil Craft Beer Company, 2845 Ore Mill Road

Activities: Introduction of Leave No Trace team members and networking

Friday, Oct. 15

8-10:30 a.m.              Beginner Birding Workshop and Hike

                                   Location: Palmer Park, 3650 Maizeland Road

Activities: Learn the basics of birding and how to apply Leave No Trace principles with representatives from the Aiken Audubon Society and parks staff.

4 p.m.                         Leave No Trace Outreach Evening

                                   Location: Red Leg Brewing Company, 2323 Garden of the Gods Road

                                   Activities: Leave No Trace trivia and networking opportunities

Saturday, Oct. 16

8-10:30 a.m.              Nature Photography Hike

                                   Location: Stratton Open Space, 1602 Ridgeway Drive

Activities: Take a guided hike with local photographer Bob Falcone, aka “Hiking Bob,” and get tips on how to capture amazing photos while practicing Leave No Trace.

8 a.m.-noon               Rocky Mountain Field Institute Volunteer Project

Location: Stratton Open Space, 1602 Ridgeway Drive

Activities: Join the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, and Parks staff for a morning of trail restoration and Leave No Trace outreach at the first TOPS-acquired property, Stratton Open Space. Discover how undesignated trails are restored and learn how to prevent them from forming. New to trail work? Not a problem! This project covers the basic elements of trail restoration, tool use, and safety.

10-11 a.m.                  Cool Science: Park Protectors: From Palmer to Pikes Peak

Location: Palmer Park, Lazy Land Pavilion

Activities: Join park rangers in various games and challenges to learn what you can do to preserve and protect our beautiful natural areas. Do you have what it takes to be an "ultra-steward?" Find out at this family-friendly program.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  Cool Science: Leave No Trace; Bigfoot Hike

Location: Palmer Park, Lazy Land Pavilion

Activities: Learn to navigate nature like Bigfoot does and Leave No Trace. On this hike you’ll see how much humans impact the natural world and how you can minimize your impact, so you can be more like Bigfoot and blend into the forest.

6-8 p.m.                      “Get Outdoors” Evening – Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop

                                   Location: Kingship Landing, 415 S Nevada Avenue

Activities: Leave No Trace awareness workshop hosted by the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers; tables to feature local friends’ groups and park advocates.

Sunday, Oct. 17

8-10:30 a.m.              Leave No Trace for Mountain Biking

                                   Location: Palmer Park, Lazy Land Pavilion

Activities: Enjoy a guided ride while also learning about how to apply Leave No Trace principles related to mountain biking. All skill levels are welcome.

 8 a.m.-noon               Palmer Park Volunteer Event

                                   Location: Palmer Park, 3650 Maizeland Road

Activities: Join the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers and the Guardians of Palmer Park for a volunteer workday featuring trail improvements and Leave No Trace outreach.  

5-8 p.m.                     Leave No Trace “All Taste, No Waste” hosted by Storybook Brewing

Location: 3121 A N, N. El Paso Street

Activities: Discuss responsible recreation opportunities in Colorado Springs. There will be trivia, prizes and free swag.


Media Note: Photos of negative impacts from recreation at Stratton Open Space are attached for your use (credit: City of Colorado Springs).


About Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people across the country every year. Learn more at, at or on Instagram through @LeaveNoTraceCenter.

Media contact: Susy Alkaitis,

Dog waste hanging from tree.