Aldo Leopold once said, “We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Leopold was one of the first to inform people about the importance of nature, the wilderness, expressing the importance of land conservation and land ethics. He did not keep his thoughts or ideas to himself but shared them with others. Over time Leopold’s ideas became praised by society – inspiring others to change the way they treat the land and to take action to protect it.

At Lake Geneva Canopy Tours (LGCT), we believe it is our responsibility to be environmental stewards of the land; to care for it – to enjoy it – to share it – for years to come. As stewards it is LGCT’s responsibility to educate and inform.  Leave No Trace is an excellent example of how anyone can create a positive effect by following seven simple principles.

Leave No Trace has become the official education and outreach policy for managing recreational use in parks and wilderness areas throughout the United States (Simon, G. L. 2009).  Based on seven core principles it seeks to minimize impacts from recreational activities such as hiking, climbing, and camping (Simon, G. L. 2009). A set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation of the outdoors (Leave No Trace) – it’s like the golden rules for outdoor recreation.

Below are specific ways LGCT has applied the seven core principles of Leave No Trace.

DSCF57351) Plan ahead & prepare – Maps are provided to plan your route for hiking & mountain biking the LGCT Arbor Trails.  All trails are marked for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, in addition to snowshoeing for the winter months, to help keep everyone on course.  We encourage all hikers to stay prepared and plan ahead by requiring helmets for mountain biking, dressing for the weather in addition to providing a list of “what to bring” on our website.

2) Travel & camp on durable surfaces – While LGCT does not offer camping on our 100-acre property, the Arbor Trails were built using the natural terrain to ensure durability.  Unpaved with a few ladder bridges made from repurposed-logs, our trails are a regional favorite.

3) Dispose of waste properly (pack it in, pack it out) – To encourage hikers and mountain bikers to help keep our trails free from debris, garbage and recycling bins are located near the cabin to properly dispose of trash. In addition, restroom facilities are available for use before or after hitting the trails.

4) Leave what you find – The Arbor Trails are filled with floral in the spring and summer months.  Colorful leaves surround the trails in the fall and the winter months create its own unique marvels. In order to preserve the year-round beauty of the Arbor Trails anyone hiking or mountain biking are restricted from taking anything but photographs throughout the property.

fire pit5) Minimize campfire impacts – Our summer Twilight Canopy Tour offers an opportunity to use one of LGCT’s two fire pits.  Fires are kept small and all wood is burnt to ash. A fire ring, in addition to a new concreate fire pit on our patio provides guests a safe and environmentally responsible place to warm up during the winter months.

6) Respect wildlife – LGCT has made numerous efforts to create a “safe haven” for wildlife.  Prairie grass was planted in the former gravel pit creating natural habitats, ponds act as a water source and bluebird nest boxes have been built and strategically placed to provide shelter in addition to fostering population growth.  On any given day, one can see deer or turkeys running through the trees.  Approaching or feeding the wildlife is prohibited along with hunting.  Leashed dogs are always welcome to enjoy the Arbor Trails year-round.

7) Be considerate of other visitors – When hiking or mountain biking the Arbor Trails, guests are surrounded with the peaceful tranquility of nature.  To help avoid collisions and confrontations on the single track trails, the hiking trails start on one end while the mountain biking trails start on the other. Hikers and mountain bikers can see each other coming and respectfully step aside.  This also avoids the need for anyone to yell up ahead creating unnecessary noise on the trails.

LGCT’s commitment to Leave No Trace doesn’t stop with the above efforts.  Our General Manager, Eric Wood and Sales Manager, Seth Elder are both Certified Trainers of Leave No Trace. The point of Leave No Trace is to help minimize impact on the land – helping preserve it for as long as possible for all to enjoy.  We invite you to visit and enjoy our Arbor Trails year-round.  Each season brings a whole new experience.

Click here if you would like to learn more about the seven core principles of Leave No Trace.

Sources
goodreads: Aldo Leopold quotes. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/43828.Aldo_Leopold
Leave No Trace. Teaching Leave No Trace. The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. (2012). Retrieved from https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles
Simon, G. L., & Alagona, P. S. (2009). Beyond Leave No Trace. Ethics, Place & Environment, 12(1), 17-34. doi:10.1080/13668790902753021