Both Adam and I are Leave No Trace Master Educators, capable of teaching others low impact travel and camping. A national monument designation would preserve Birthplace of Rivers for generations to come and we want to do our part to ensure future visitors enjoy the same experiences we do by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace:
Plan Ahead and Prepare: We've picked the best mode of travel for each segment of our trip to minimize impact. For example, we will likely use bikes to bypass low water sections of the upper Elk River so we don't have to drag a canoe, which could leave marks on the rocks in the riverbed.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: We'll travel over water, established trails, and pavement for all but 5 miles of the Elkspedition. The portion along Laurel Run coming down to Slatyfork in Birthplace of Rivers has no trails, but since it sees few visitors our passage will be quickly erased.
Dispose of Waste Properly: Not only will we carry out all our trash, but we'll do what we can to clean up after others and leave the Elk River watershed in better shape than we found it.
Leave What You Find: We plan to only take pictures and video!
Minimize Campfire Impacts: We'll have a small stove for cooking and headlamps for light in the evening. Campfires won't factor into our plans unless it's safe and smart to do so.
Respect Wildlife: The Birthplace of Rivers is home to some of West Virginia's healthiest native brook trout populations. If we choose to fish, it will be strictly catch-and-release of native brookies!
Be Considerate of other Visitors: Keeping a low profile to preserve a sense of solitude is the objective here. But we look forward to meeting others on the Elkspedition and want to share their stories as well!
Our travel along the Elk River Water Trail will bring its own special considerations. You can read about those here.
The Seven Principles are copyrighted by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (1999; www.LNT.org)