Leave No Trace in your Metro Parks

Outdoor Adventure Programmer

Our beautiful Metro Parks are home to gorgeous land, picturesque scenes, and many different species of wildlife. While we all love to enjoy our Metro Parks in many different ways, there are some things as humans that we can do to help keep these greenspaces in their most pristine and natural state.

Leave No Trace is a framework that is designed to educate the public on different aspects of how we can lessen our impact on the environment. There are seven broad principles that individuals can practice daily to support the Metro Parks mission to conserve natural spaces while also being able to discover and experience nature.

Leave No Trace – The Seven Principles

Plan Ahead & Prepare

The first principle is to plan ahead and prepare. Some examples of this include mapping out where you plan to explore, doing some research regarding off-trail activity, and preparing for weather. Metro Parks limits off-trail activity in certain conservation areas, so be sure to check out the parks page on the website prior to visiting so that you can be aware of boundaries. Metro Parks does its part regarding this principle by providing maps at trail intersections, rather than adding trail blaze to trees.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

This principle is very easy to follow in our parks, as both Scioto Grove and Battelle Darby Creek have designated backpacking sites that are maintained and properly developed for camping. When it comes to traveling on durable surfaces, this changes with the season. After a heavy snow, it is better to walk on paved or dry trails, as walking on a muddy or wet trail can cause damage to the trail or to premature vegetation. Rock, sand and gravel are the most durable out of all of the trail surfaces, whereas living soil and vegetative surfaces are subject to trampling and damage.

Backpackers at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Photo Melissa Turpening

Dispose of Waste Properly

This principle is fairly self explanatory, although unfortunately improper disposal of waste is common in park spaces. While some parks do have trash receptacles, other parks are considered “take in, take out” where you are responsible for your own waste disposal. These parks will have brown paper bags available for waste removal. This principle is largely focused on backpacking and camping practices.

Leave What you Find

I know I also love a good souvenir, however taking items out of the park can have a very disruptive effect on the integrity of the environment and wildlife. And so it is not permitted to remove any rocks, plants, flowers or wildlife from the parks. If you happen to move a rock or boulder, it is best to put it back as you have found it, because many insects choose to live under rocks and this can interrupt their life cycle, in turn disrupting other aspects of the environment. Leaving markings on trees is another aspect that is related to this topic. Nature is a beautiful thing that continues to thrive, but damaging trees can in turn interrupt the historical aspects of our parks.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

This is another principle that the Metro Parks has been able to implement by creating designated fire pits and charcoal grills within the parks. Be sure to check out the individual park pages prior to visiting to see where grills are located. Another good general outdoor topic to remember is to never move or relocate firewood. Firewood can be home to many different invasive species of insects, so when burning firewood, use locally sourced wood as you do not want to risk spreading invasive species to other areas.

A fire pit at Scioto Grove Metro Park. Photo Macy Tallarico

Respect Wildlife

Our Metro Parks are habitats for a huge number of animal species. You wouldn’t want someone to disturb your home, so be mindful when being out in nature’s home. Avoid feeding wildlife, respectfully observe wildlife from a safe distance, and keep dogs on a leash!

Be Considerate to Others

Share kindness on the trail. Be aware of your surroundings and yield to other hikers, bikers and strollers. Stick to the right-hand side of a trail when coming up to a group of people. Be aware of noise level also. While music during hiking is lovely, maintain a quiet noise level by using headphones. As always, keep pets on a leash and abide by trail standards by only utilizing pet-friendly trails.

While most of these principles may seem like only little steps you take as an individual, a group or even an entire community can make an impact for the greater good by abiding by these standards. We all absolutely adore our green space and we need to continue to do our part to maintain the conservation efforts put forth by your Metro Parks.

Happy Hiking!

One thought on “Leave No Trace in your Metro Parks

  1. I get all of them except the part about not being able to take a dang rock from the park, that’s a little overboard isn’t it? Lots of people collect rocks to paint on for kids and old folks. That one needs to be looked at again. IMO.

Comments are closed.