Leave no trace communication: Effectiveness based on assessments of resource conditions

Journal of Interpretation Research
By: , and 



The efficacy of different Leave No Trace (LNT) communication interventions designed to persuade forest visitors to practice low-impact camping behaviors were evaluated. Three depreciative campsite behaviors—littering, tree damage, and surface disposal of human waste—were evaluated by before-and-after resource condition assessments. Three LNT communication interventions were evaluated against a control: (1) an LNT brochure and poster display (non-personal), (2) personal LNT communication by a forest naturalist, and (3) a combination of both non-personal and personal methods. The study population was overnight campers using dispersed road-accessed campsites in Western Maryland’s Green Ridge State Forest. LNT communication successfully improved resource conditions for the targeted depreciative behaviors. For litter and human waste, personal communication by a forest naturalist was effective, but the non-personal method was ineffective. In contrast, tree damage was significantly reduced by both non-personal and personal communication methods. Combining personal and non-personal communication efforts did not result in an increased benefit. The core implication of this study is that several camping resource impacts can be measurably reduced when uniformed staff personally communicate the desired low impact practices.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Leave no trace communication: Effectiveness based on assessments of resource conditions
Series title Journal of Interpretation Research
DOI 10.1177/1092587220963523
Volume 25
Issue 1
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Sage
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 21 p.
First page 5
Last page 25
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