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Bryce Canyon National Park selected as 2022 Leave No Trace Hot Spot

With the park’s centennial year approaching in 2023, staff at Bryce Canyon National Park have been looking for opportunities not only to celebrate Bryce Canyon’s past but also the challenges and opportunities of its future. As a part of that effort, the park’s Mossy Cave Trail was nominated and chosen as a 2022 Hot Spot by the Leave No Trace organization. From August 25 - 29, a Subaru/Leave No Trace Team will work with the National Park Service to provide area visitors, land managers, volunteers and the local community with information, service work and education to reduce impacts at this and other popular outdoor areas.

Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park’s Mossy Cave Trail is one of 11 sites across the country selected as a Leave No Trace Hot Spot. Upcoming free events at the Park will encourage leave no trace practices. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Through a nationwide nominations process, Leave No Trace selects Hot Spot locations each year: popular outdoor areas across the country that have experienced heavy recreational use and human-created impacts, including excessive trash, damage to vegetation, trail erosion, disturbance to wildlife and more. Hot Spots empower people to be the solution to these impacts in their communities, an essential objective of the Leave No Trace organization.

“Hot Spot locations are heavily damaged but can recover with the help of a motivated community and an encompassing infusion of Leave No Trace programming. Centered around training, 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. “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.”

“Mossy Cave and Water Canyon are especially beautiful and unique features in an already beautiful and unique broader landscape. We want people to be able to enjoy visiting them for generations to come,” said Tyra Olstad, Physical Scientist for Bryce Canyon National Park. “While the immediate goal of the Hot Spot is to find ways to mitigate recreation-related impacts in the Mossy Cave area, in the long run we’re hoping to build a community of land managers, local residents and visitors who are all good stewards of Mossy Cave, Bryce Canyon National Park and beyond.”

The following events are free and open to the public, and we encourage people of all ages to attend:

Friday, August 26

  • 2 – 4 p.m.: Create your Own Leave No Trace Pack Out Bag. Family-friendly activity at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center Plaza focused on disposing of waste properly. Visitors will leave with a kid-friendly reusable trash bag to help protect and care for natural areas.

  • 8:30 – 9:30 p.m.: Water in the Desert: Geology and History of Mossy Cave. Evening presentation at the North Campground Outdoor Theater on the natural and cultural history of Mossy Cave, the history of Tropic Ditch and how to minimize impacts while visiting these special places.

Saturday, August 27

  • 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Stewardship Service Project: Trash Pickup and Trail Impacts Survey. Join Leave No Trace and Bryce Canyon rangers for a family-friendly volunteer day cleaning up and documenting impacts along the Mossy Cave Trail.

  • 8:30 – 9:30 p.m.: How to be the Best Sasquatch You Can. Evening presentation at the North Campground Outdoor Theater focused on Leave No Trace outdoor ethics, minimizing our impacts and how to protect your favorite outdoor spaces.

Sunday, August 28

  • 9 – 10:30 a.m. and 2 – 3:30 p.m.: Ranger-guided walks at Mossy Cave. Meet at the Mossy Cave trailhead for ranger-guided walks about the geology and history of Mossy Cave and learn how Leave No Trace practices can help protect this special area.

  • 2 – 4 p.m.: Public & Visitor Outreach. Leave No Trace staff will be at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center Plaza educating visitors about Leave No Trace skills and ethics, minimizing our impacts and enjoying the outdoors responsibly. For more information visit the park’s calendar page or the Leave No Trace Hot Spot event page.

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