For Immediate Release
Regional Parks and Leave No Trace host Hot Spot Clean Up at Steelhead Beach
Sonoma County, CA | July 27, 2022
National Leave No Trace experts will visit one of Sonoma County’s most popular Russian River beaches in early August to support special stewardship projects, educate river-goers and train land managers on practices, skills and ethics that can help minimize the environmental and community impacts of summer crowds.
The Leave No Trace organization selected Steelhead Beach Regional Park in Forestville as one of its 2022 “Hot Spots” – outdoor recreation destinations around the country that are experiencing heavy use and could benefit from Leave No Trace measures. From Aug. 3-8, a Leave No Trace team will work with Sonoma County Regional Parks to host trainings for parks staff and community members, conduct clean-ups along beaches and on the water, and engage with park visitors about Leave No Trace principles.
“The Russian River is an important local and regional summer recreation spot, whose popularity skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic as residents and visitors sought the outdoors for their health and well-being,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose 5th District includes the lower Russian River area. “This compounded the impacts we were already seeing in our parks and led to an even greater need to help visitors understand how they can recreate responsibly.”
Through a nationwide nominations process, Leave No Trace selects diverse Hot Spot locations each year: popular outdoor areas across the country that have experienced heavy recreational use and human-created impacts, including excessive trash, damage to vegetation, trail erosion, disturbance to wildlife and more. Hot Spots empower people to be the solution to these impacts in their communities, an essential objective of the Leave No Trace organization.
In addition to partner engagement and staff training, the community is invited to participate in a public volunteer clean up event at Steelhead Beach on Thursday, Aug. 4, with both land-based and water-based clean up projects. More information and registration for this free event are available at parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/play/calendar.
“Hot Spot locations are heavily damaged, but can recover with the help of a motivated community and an encompassing infusion of Leave No Trace programming,” said Dana Watts, executive director of Leave No Trace. “Centered around training, these efforts include a series of targeted workshops for local land managers, partners and volunteers, as well as community outreach events for the public conducted by expert Leave No Trace educators. Our goal is to put these Hot Spot areas on the road to recovery, while also creating aspirational guidance and recommendations for public lands across the globe.”
The five-day Hot Spot event will take place in tandem the Sonoma County Leave No Trace Initiative, a multi-year partnership formed between Sonoma County Regional Parks, Sonoma County Tourism, and the Leave No Trace organization in 2021, to promote practices to prevent environmental impacts in parks, preserves, and other outdoor recreation locations.
“We’re working hard at Regional Parks to adapt our messaging and public education strategies to increase public awareness of responsible recreation, to improve the visitor experience at Sonoma County parks and open spaces.” said Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker. "We have an interest in forging innovative partnerships that support a reduction in visitor impacts, even while we continue to see the trend of visitor numbers grow.”
About Leave No Trace
The Leave No Trace organization is a national nonprofit organization that protects the outdoors by empowering everyone through science, training and simple guidelines. Their Subaru/Leave No Trace Team members are mobile teams of educators who provide hands-on educational outreach to individuals and groups across the U.S. Learn more at www.LNT.org.
About Sonoma County Regional Parks
Sonoma County Regional Parks preserves irreplaceable natural and cultural resources, and offers opportunities for recreation and education that enhance the quality of life and well-being of Sonoma County's residents and visitors. Learn more at SonomaCountyParks.org.
Sarah Phelps, Marketing Specialist
Sonoma County Regional Parks