NYSDEC asks visitors to nature spots to adhere to ‘Leave No Trace’ principles

(NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conversation is asking visitors to natural areas to stop littering.

The agency recently posted photos on Twitter of trash left behind by visitors to state land near area waterways and trails.

Complaints of littering have been coming in from concerned nature lovers, mainly in the Catskills and Adirondacks.

“Obviously, during our COVID-19 response, we launched our Play Safe, Play Local campaign. And it’s really great to see a lot of people take that to heart. But obviously, what we are seeing is, as more and more people take to our trails, we are finding more trash and litter. So what we are trying to do is encourage all New Yorkers to follow our Leave No Trace principles,” said Sean Mahar, Chief of Staff for NYSDEC.

The DEC is now asking visitors to adhere to their principles of Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace:
1       Carry out what you carry in. Don’t leave trash, food, gear, or personal belongings behind.
2       Trash your trash. Use designated receptacles or carry your trash in a small bag so you can throw it out at home. Never put trash in outhouses or porta-potties.
3       Use designated bathroom facilities when available. If traveling, use the rest areas closest to your destination before you arrive.
4       During the COVID-19 public health crisis, take extra precautions when picking up trash you find on the trail. Wear gloves and make sure to hand sanitize when you are done.

“When I am hiking with my daughter and family, I always bring an extra pair of work gloves with me and use those to pick up any trash that I find. Again, when you’re out in the woods keep your mask handy, especially as you are coming into contact with other folks,” adds Mahar.

There may be lots of cool looking bugs in the woods, just not litter bugs!