With the number of people choosing to opt outside skyrocketing, it is no surprise that our public lands are suffering. The pandemic and shutdown have many people heading to nature for healing and solace while, for much of the year, organizations like Friends have been unable to lead volunteer projects leaving public lands suffering as a result. Lucky for us, there are several individuals who go above and beyond for public lands. These anonymous stewards have been filling in gaps and you should join them.
Opt Outside 2020
Volunteers have been taking to trails by themselves to tackle the litter problem. (Photo: Susan Murphy)
Volunteers like Susan have been greening trails during the pandemic since agency mandates have kept organized events off of the calendar. We do not encourage everyone to create their own trash pickup crusade. But we do ask that everyone practice leave no trace principles by packing out what you packed in. If we all do our part and pack our trash out, it will greatly reduce the need for large scale trash pickups. A group of trail stewards called Trashy Trail Runners (@trashytrailrunners on IG) has also been able to make headway with trash and dog poop pickups along trails in southern Nevada while social distancing and getting some miles in as well. We commend them for caring for public lands in these uncertain times. If you would like to learn more about their community, visit their website.
As you #OptOutside this Black Friday, keep in mind the individuals who follow behind you on the trail to keep it clean and safe for the public. So many are volunteering their time to keep our natural spaces beautiful and saying thanks is simply not enough. We need to do our part as well and Leave No Trace. Nevada's public lands and wilderness need more protectors and stewards. We hope we can count on you to join this cause and encourage family and friends to come along.