For Immediate Release
Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition receives global recognition
Sonoma County, CA | October 12, 2023
The Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition—a first-of-its-kind partnership between Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma County Regional Parks, the Leave No Trace organization, and 60+ local businesses—has been awarded on both the global and state level with two honors this week for its groundbreaking work in promoting safe and responsible visitation of parks and open spaces.
On Tuesday, at the Green Destinations 2023 Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, the Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition was designated a ‘Good Practice Story’ as part of the global Green Destinations Top 100 Stories List competition. Sonoma County was one of only two destinations in California and seven in the US to be recognized among the international destinations vying for this award.
A second honor was also awarded today at the DMA West Education Summit & Vendor Showcase in Lake Tahoe, Nevada when the Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition was named a ‘Best Idea’ by the Destination Marketing Association of the West’s Best Idea Program competition.
These awards come at the heels of Sonoma County being presented with the Sustainability Advocate Award by the CalTravel Association for its Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition program.
The Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition was formed in 2021 to help mitigate environmental impacts in area parks, preserves, and other outdoor recreation locations. The Coalition promotes responsible outdoor recreation through the guiding Principles of Leave of Trace, an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. Local businesses that join the Coalition help share this messaging with customers by incorporating Leave No Trace language in reservation confirmations, displaying collateral in their businesses, or linking to the Principles on their websites. Some have even trained their employees to share Leave No Trace messaging in their everyday interactions with customers.
“Sonoma County Tourism is delighted our destination is represented in this year’s Greens Destinations Top 100 Stories List and DMA West’s Best Idea Program,” said Devin McConnell, Sustainability and Climate Initiatives Manager at Sonoma County Tourism. “These honors belong to our wonderful Coalition partners who have been critical to distributing this important messaging to residents and visitors.”
Every year the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories competition collects sustainable tourism stories and good practices from destinations all over the world to be shared as inspiring examples to others. Submissions were evaluated by the Green Destinations Top 100 Team, country experts and Green Destination Partners, coordinated by Green Destinations.
The objective of DMA West’s Best Idea Program is to share innovative techniques or imaginative approaches to promoting destinations, developing assets, providing services, or communicating with stakeholders and residents. A board-appointed task force reviewed the best idea submissions and invited winners to present their best ideas at DMA West’s Education Summit.
The Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition was formed in response to an influx of negative impacts to Sonoma County’s parks and open spaces during the coronavirus pandemic. The partnership elevated to new heights in the following years with the development and release of the Sonoma County Leave No Trace Five Year Stewardship Action Framework, the Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition toolkit, and the expansion into a three-county “Cleaner California Coast” alliance with Marin and Mendocino counties. By working together to communicate uniform messaging, and getting local businesses to amplify the messaging, these initiatives empower visitors to protect and preserve the natural beauty of Sonoma County and the greater northern California coastline.
“Sonoma County Tourism saw the need, and has successfully executed, an innovative stewardship education initiative that reaches visitors and residents alike,” said Andrew Leary, Director of Sustainable Tourism and Partnerships at Leave No Trace. “Its novel approach to destination stewardship involved not only Leave No Trace, but also the crucial perspective and voice of Sonoma County Regional Parks who manages more than 50 parks and open spaces across the county. No other destination has been able to work in collaboration with their land manager counterparts. With Sonoma County Tourism’s leadership, the three partners and the entire Sonoma County stakeholder community foster an education initiative that invite all visitors and residents to be part of the solution.”
About Sonoma County Tourism:
Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) is the region’s official Destination Stewardship Organization. Through a multi-channel sales and marketing program, the organization promotes Sonoma County as a global visitor and meetings destination, where diversity thrives, and everyone is welcome. Stewardship and Sustainability remain at the forefront of everything Sonoma County Tourism does. As the nation’s first Destination Stewardship Organization, located in the most sustainable wine region in the world, SCT strives to create and adopt best practices aimed at protecting and preserving our destination for generations to come. To learn more about SCT’s commitment to sustainability, visit sonomacounty.com/sustainable.
About Green Destinations
Green Destinations is a Netherlands-based organization working on the assessment, capacity building and certification of destinations and businesses committed to sustainable tourism. Green Destinations manages a number of global programs through a core team of coordinators and program managers. The organization leads a global partnership of over 50 representatives, consisting of sustainable tourism experts, consultancies, and non-profit organizations; it works for the benefit of the Green Destinations community. To date, more than 450 destinations and 50 businesses from 60 countries have participated in one of our programs. Together with the Green Destinations Community and the association, the organization aims to make tourism better and more sustainable.
About The Destination Marketing Association of the West (DMA West)
The Destination Marketing Association of the West (DMA West) is a regional membership organization of more than 150 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) which exists to support and provide resources to western DMOs as they enhance initiatives and technologies associated with interactions with visitors, clients, partners/stakeholders, board members and elected leaders, as well as interactions with colleagues and industry peers. With support of the DMA West Education and Research Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, DMA West is a valuable source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the destination marketing profession, and provides resources, education and ideas to enhance the performance and influence of destination marketing organizations in the West.