Posted by: Stan Russell | September 29, 2015

Leave No Trace Hot Spot Program Addresses Overuse in the Big Sur Backcountry

From Ventana Wilderness Alliance

Special Week Long Education Events in Big Sur with the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers to Help Visitors Enjoy and Protect Wilderness for Generations to Come

The Leave No Trace Center Selected the Pine Ridge Trail within the Ventana Wilderness of Monterey County, CA as an Endangered ‘Hot Spot’ and is Hosting Events to Help Raise Awareness about Natural Areas around the Country Facing the Threat of Irreversible Environmental Damage

SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 (Boulder, CO) The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are partnering with the Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA) to host community events and educational activities October 7 – 11. The scenic Pine Ridge Trail between Big Sur Station and a popular hot spring at Sykes Camp suffers from visitor-created impacts including trash, unsafe campfires, abandoned gear, stream pollution, vegetation damage, and trail erosion.

The Hot Spot Program, a key component of the Leave No Trace in Every Park initiative, raises community awareness and brings solutions to popular natural areas around the country facing heavy recreational use and consequent damage to trails, parks and open space. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers traverse the nation teaching the public how to reduce impacts on the outdoors.

“The cumulative impact of so many people enjoying a designated Wilderness area like the Pine Ridge Trail can negatively affect that place.” According to Subaru/Leave No Trace Center Traveling Trainer Jenna Hanger, “In most cases, the impact isn’t due to a malicious intent; it’s simply a lack of Leave No Trace education and practices.”

The following is a list of Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer-led events happening in Big Sur and Marina. All are free and open to the public:

Monday – Tuesday, October 5-6, Sykes Camp Site Visit:
Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers and VWA Volunteer Wilderness Rangers will visit Sykes Camp in the Ventana Wilderness to assess the impacts of overuse and lack of LNT awareness on the Pine Ridge Trail. Able-bodied members of the press are invited to join this strenuous (20-mile round-trip) overnight backpacking trip.

Wednesday, October 7, Media Outreach Day at Big Sur Station:
8 am – 4 pm.
Members of the media are encouraged to interview the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers live or over the phone at 831-667-0951 to discuss the impacts and effects of overuse along the Pine Ridge Trail between Big Sur Station and Sykes Camp. Please RSVP to Richard Popchak of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance at 831-423-3191.

Thursday, October 8, Enjoy and Protect the Big Sur Backcountry, an Interactive Presentation at REI Marina:
7 pm – 8:30 pm.
Join the VWA and Subaru/ Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers for a walk on the wild side. Learn to plan and prepare for your visit to the Ventana Wilderness and reduce your impact on this special place. The presentation will include images, stories and Sykes-specific information from Volunteer Wilderness Rangers who routinely patrol the Pine Ridge Trail. Please register online at-

Friday, October 9, Leave No Trace Campfire Center Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Event:
7pm – 9pm.
The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will lead a campfire center presentation at Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park. This event will be open to the public (including all campers at Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park.)

Friday – Sunday, October 9 – 11, Leave No Trace Trailhead Greetings at Big Sur Station:
9 am – 4 pm.
Hikers and backpackers can learn about the Ventana Wilderness, Leave No Trace and VWA while participating in fun, educational activities. Big Sur Station at Highway 1 in Big Sur. Continue past the Big Sur Station visitor center to the Pine Ridge Trailhead parking area.

In the words of VWA Executive Director Mike Splain, “We are thrilled to work with the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers to help protect this spectacular yet fragile landscape. Every year, more visitors venture into the Big Sur backcountry; let’s learn to enjoy this special place without loving it to death.”
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in a national nonprofit organization that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly. Their Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are mobile teams of educators that visit 48 states every year delivering Leave No Trace programs such as Hot Spots to over 15 million people. For more information, visit:

About the Ventana Wilderness Alliance
The Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA) was formed to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness qualities and biodiversity of the public lands within California’s northern Santa Lucia Mountains and Big Sur coast. VWA advocacy and stewardship projects are designed to benefit the Wilderness, its visitors and the wild species that call it home. The VWA also provides informational services by maintaining a website with backcountry trail conditions, interactive forums, and other web tools to get people involved in conservation projects.
For more information, visit:

Media Contact:
Kate Lessman, Kathleen Lessman Communications/ Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics,, 970-333-3395

Local Media Contact:
Richard Popchak, Ventana Wilderness Alliance,, 831-423-3191

Sykes Hot Springs


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