CCA to host celebration of Leave No Trace ‘Gold Standard’ designation for local conservation

Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel

A hiker walks along the rim trail looking into Dominguez Canyon. The Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area will be celebrated as Leave No Trace “Gold Standard” sites on Thursday in Fruita.

Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel

On Thursday, Colorado Canyons Association and Bureau of Land Management staff will host a public celebration marking Dominguez-Escalante and McInnis Canyons National Conservation Areas designations as Leave No Trace “Gold Standard” sites.

The celebration will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Copper Club Brewing Company in Fruita, Colorado Canyon Association Associate Director Sara Brooker said.

“(It’ll be) a pretty casual event, but an opportunity for the public to come out and help celebrate McInnis Canyons and Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Areas becoming a ‘Gold Standard’ site for Leave No Trace,” Brooker said.

Leave No Trace is a nonprofit organization providing Leave No Trace programs, education, training and outreach around caring for the outdoors. According to its website, Gold Standard sites “become exemplary models, encouraging other public lands to ensure that Leave No Trace education is part of everyone’s experience when spending time outdoors.”

Brooker said the event will be an informal “gathering with good people,” but there will be a short presentation recognizing the designation from Leave No Trace.

“It will be just a collection of folks from BLM, CCA and then a lot of our volunteers and community coming together to celebrate,” Brooker said. “We’ll do a brief presentation and kind of a toast to the designation. There will also be some Leave No Trace staff there to do the official ribbon-cutting or sign hand off.”

Over the past 18 months, Brooker said CCA has worked in partnership with the BLM to implement and expand its Leave No Trace programming efforts. That meant teaching Leave No Trace principles during its educational events and adding information on those principles on signs around the conservation areas.

“On maps and kiosk posters, making sure the seven Leave No Trace principles are all listed out,” Brooker said. “So as the visitors come to the trailhead they can read those Leave No Trace principles and go on their hike or ride, while keeping those in mind.”

The Dominguez-Escalante and McInnis Canyons National Conservation Areas will be only the second and third BLM managed sites designated as Gold Standard, Brooker said. This is something the community should be proud of, she said.

“We’re just really excited to get this designation and thankful for the community effort as well — all the work that locals have put in to keep these public lands pristine,” Brooker said.

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