In case it’s not completely obvious at this point, we love getting out and exploring the Daniel Boone National Forest, and so do a lot of others! It’s great to see so many people getting out to enjoy the natural world around them. With this, however, comes the need to have a serious conversation about the conservation of our public lands.

Though the abuse and disregard for a natural environments is a problem across the world, it seems especially bad here in Kentucky. There are countless examples of rock shelters piled with trash, overlooks with names carved into them and arches covered in graffiti. It’s terrible to see!

Read more about the abuse of our public lands.

Vandalized Cave Entrance.
An example of a vandalized cave entrance. Though located elsewhere in Kentucky (not in Daniel Boone National Forest), it’s a perfect illustration of the sort of disrespect that we see all too often around here.

It’s time to put a stop to it!

One of the largest goals of Explore DBNF is to promote responsible visitation of our national forest. We want it to be around in all of its glory for many generations to come. This cannot happen if we don’t all work together to help educate visitors on the principles of leave no trace and conservation.

How to Get Involved

So, you’re ready to get involved in helping us conserve our national forest. That’s great news!

Even better news is that there’s plenty of ways to help out. Here are just a few:

Learn & Practice Leave No Trace

Trash dump in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an organization that is dedicated to helping preserve the outdoors. They accomplish this goal in a number of ways, but the most well known is through their seven leave no trace principles. The seven principles are as follows:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

By learning and following these principles, we can lessen our impact on the environment and help preserve the places we love for many generations to come.

Pick Up Trash

Part of the leave no trace seven principles is packing out what you pack in but, unfortunately, not everyone abides by these guidelines. We’ve all seen trash on our public lands, thrown there by those who didn’t respect these wonderful areas. Luckily, picking up trash is a great, easy way to help out!

All you have to do is start carrying a trash bag with you when you hike. As you find some trash, pick it up and pack it out with you. It’s that easy and has a huge impact! See the 11th essential below for more information.

The 11th Essential is an outdoor clean-up initiative focused on stewardship. The 11th Essential encourages those who frequent the outdoors to add a trash bag to their essential items so they can be prepared to pick-up any litter they may encounter.

The goal of the 11th Essential is to move stewardship to the forefront of every adventure, no matter what that may be, to help protect wild and natural places.

If those of us who love our public lands won’t protect them,  who will? Join us and #GetOutGrabOne on your next adventure!

Educate Others

Vandalized Arch

A sad trend that we’ve been noticing on social media lately is that we’ve started to slip away from educating others on how to properly leave no trace and conserve our public lands and have instead switched to a system of shaming, threatening and berating people that have made mistakes. While it’s true that there are times in which some people just will never be open to new ideas, this simply isn’t the way to go about effecting change in our community.

Instead, it’s important that we try our best to reach out and educate others. Education is the only way we can truly make a difference in the future!