Leave no trace

By promoting "light on the land" recreation, a new nonprofit group aims to protect wilderness areas. Funded in part by a grant from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, Leave No Trace Inc. will work with manufacturers of camping gear and federal-lands staffers to educate backcountry users about minimum-impact recreation. "Since the outdoor industry is doing such an effective job in encouraging its customers to visit America's wildlands, we all have a responsibility to help assure the quality of the outdoor experience," says Sandy Briggs of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Leave No Trace Inc. will teach backcountry skills such as digging a proper cat hole for human waste, finding natural alternatives to toilet paper and building a no-trace fire on a fire-retardant tarp. The group also hopes to persuade manufacturers to hang-tag their merchandise with the "Leave No Trace" principles. While Leave No Trace is a new organization, the Forest Service has promoted the concept for 20 years, and NOLS joined the effort in 1991. The group's director is Jim Landmann, former product development manager with L.L. Bean and a NOLS instructor in Lander, Wyo. For more information, call 800/332-4100.