Top tips to Leave No Trace in Bend this year


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Top tips to Leave No Trace in Bend this year

Maybe you’ve pledged that 2024 is the year you’ll make your mark on the world. Go, you! Want to start by vowing you’ll Leave No Trace in Bend?

Seems counterintuitive, I swear it’s not. So many of us make resolutions to tackle that next mountain peak, river rapid, or desert trail. While that’s a worthy goal, overachievers like you take things to the next level. 

Here’s the secret for how to do that.

Woman and dog hike in Bend, Oregon.
Visit Bend is Oregon’s first destination organization to partner with Leave No Trace.

Wait…what’s going on?

On January 4, 2023, Visit Bend became Oregon’s first destination organization to partner with Leave No Trace

You’ve seen me say two or three thousand times that you should leave no trace when recreating outdoors. But in this case, I’m talking about the Leave No Trace organization devoted to using science, education, and stewardship to ensure a sustainable future for the outdoors.

Not to brag on my employer, but this partnership’s kind of a big deal. It’s one more building block in Visit Bend’s commitment to respecting and protecting the natural resources that make Bend the ultimate place to play.

Leave No Trace tag hangs on the backpack of a hiker in Bend, Oregon.
Stop by the Bend Visitor Center and grab a durable placard card with detailed tips on recreating safely and responsibly in Bend’s great outdoors.

Partnership like…we’re dating?

While Visit Bend loves Leave No Trace a lot, we still want to see other people. 

Mostly out on trails and lakes where folks flock to enjoy Bend’s outdoor wonderland. As a matter of fact, use of Bend’s outdoor spaces boomed in pandemic times. That’s a whole lot of new folks feeling unsure where to hike or how to poop when they’re camping (yep, it’s a thing). 

So we got together with the folks at Leave No Trace and came up with a whole host of Bend-specific Leave No Trace principles you can learn about right here.

Visit Bend's custom stickers for Leave No Trace principles.
Take the Pledge to leave Bend better than you found it and collect a sweet Leave No Trace sticker sheet.

That’s cool, but can I have a present?

The holidays may be over, but Visit Bend’s so jazzed for this partnership with Leave No Trace that we’ve got gifts to give everyone.

You know those Bend-specific Leave No Trace principles I mentioned? Visit Bend commissioned local artist Laura Hartwick to create a mural and a sticker sheet spotlighting them. Simple, easy-to-follow stuff like “pack it out” and “stick to the trail and respect other users.” Those stickers are free to anyone who swings by the Bend Visitor Center and says “please.” Heck, we might give ‘em to you if you don’t say please, but this is Bend. It’s a given you’re nice.

Need more than just stickers? We gotchu, boo. 

We also have free, durable placard cards with detailed tips on recreating safely and responsibly in Bend’s great outdoors. They’re made to hang on a backpack and available in both English and Spanish. We even have versions with tips for both winter and summer. Go ahead and grab both because you’re worth it.

Oh, and if you want to Leave No Trace without that pack of stickers or placard card, you can do it all digitally. Hop over to Instagram and search their GIF library using the keywords Bend Oregon, Visit Bend, Roam Better Bend, and Leave No Trace. Boom! Now you’ve got a whole mess of digitally animated stickers to play with. Aren’t they cute?

Hiker gets a dog bag from the station at the trailhead in Bend, Oregon.
No matter where the trail takes you and your pets, be sure to pick up and pack out your pet’s poop.

Why are we doing this?

I know tourism bureaus are meant to focus on…yanno…bringing tourists to town. We’ve got that covered in spades (some might argue too well, but we’d counter by saying everyone should share and experience this magical place).

A few years back, we started thinking how we wanted to do more to make sure the places we love in Bend are protected and preserved so your children’s future children’s children can enjoy it the same way you do.

In 2017, Visit Bend introduced the Bend Pledge, a program that prompted locals and visitors to vow to recreate kindly and responsibly when in Bend.

In 2020, Visit Bend hired a Sustainability Director and launched the Bend Sustainability Fund, which funnels a portion of transient room tax dollars to projects that protect, enhance, or preserve places of natural or cultural significance around Bend. If you’re not familiar with transient room tax dollars—TRT in industry speak—that’s the tax visitors pay for staying in Bend hotels and vacation rentals.

On top of all that, Visit Bend created the Strategic Partnership Program to invest in organizations like Central Oregon Landwatch, The Conservation Alliance, Embrace Bend, Warm Springs Community Action Team, and other groups working to ensure Bend remains a sustainable, economically vibrant, and inclusive destination.

This partnership with Leave No Trace is our way of taking another step toward safeguarding sustainable spaces and magical places around Bend.

While I’m not sure what our next steps might be, I’m hoping it involves a pony and maybe unlimited organic meals for each Visit Bend staffer. #DareToDream

A woman and her dog hike in Bend, Oregon.
Pack it in, pack it out. Put litter, even crumbs, peels, and cores, into garbage bags or plastic containers and carry it out.

This is freakin’ fabulous!

Thanks. We think so, too.

How can I learn more?

Our Leave No Trace website is an awesome spot to start. Browse it with your kids and quiz each other on best practices for playing outdoors.

If you’re reading this before February 9, you’ll see a link on that page to register for a free Leave No Trace webinar. While it’s mostly meant for industry peeps to get educated on Leave No Trace principles for their business, it’s open to everyone and a solid way to get your Leave No Trace fix for the month.

Hiker gives their dog a hi-five at the top of Pilot Butte in Bend, Oregon.
Give your hiking partner a…hi-paw?! Leaving No Trace was not as ruff as you thought!

If I leave no trace, do I truly exist?

You do and we love you.

We still plan to see other people.