Updated March 28th, 2024

Understanding Leave No Trace in Your MetroParks

Spring is here, and that means a lot more people are about to head out to enjoy their local MetroPark. Are you making plans on heading out for a hike or a ride? Here are a few outdoor principles from Leave No Trace, an organization on a mission to ensure a sustainable future for the outdoors, to keep in mind before you go on your adventure.

  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces including trails, gravel, rock, and dry grasses. Sticking to the trails also makes for a safer hiking experience, as you are less likely to be injured from a trip or fall. We want to make sure that we are not expanding our trails, so that means hiking or riding single file in the center of the trails. It’s always a great idea to use an old pair of shoes for those muddy hikes and have an extra pair to change into.
  • Dispose of waste properly: taking snacks along with you is always a good idea, but snacks come with trash, make sure you pack it out with you and use some of the trash cans located at the trailheads and other places throughout the park. What about apple cores and orange peels? Yup, those too! Going fishing? Make sure you collect all of your little pieces of line or tippet, MetroParks provides plenty of places to recycle old fishing lines and bait containers. Visitors should be prepared to carry out everything they carry in. Prepare to pack extra water, food, and a bag to carry your trash and animal waste out with you. Learn more.
  • Plan and prepare. It is important to know a few things before you set out, like what is the weather going to be, are there any trail closures, what mileage and elevation are the trails that you are going to do that day? A lot of these are things you don’t want to be surprised by, so make sure that you are checking the weather, and using the MetroParks Mobile App.
  • Minimize campfire impacts. Looking to spend a night under the stars? We have you covered. Here are the places you can camp at within MetroParks. Use established fire rings, pans, or mound fires where fires are permitted (fires are not permitted at backcountry or trailside campsites). Keep fires small. Use only sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Leave what you find. The old adage goes “take only pictures, leave only footprints” this still rings true in our natural places. As much as a freshly picked bouquet of flowers might brighten your day, they will not be there for someone else to appreciate if you take them home. Instead of taking interesting things you find from the parks, snap pictures of unique, beautiful and interesting things you find in the parks and their them with your friends and family on social media.
  • Respect wildlife. A conservation agency, Five Rivers MetroParks works hard to protect the region’s natural heritage, including local flora and fauna. Spring is a time of rebirth and you may notice new life buzzing, flying and scurrying around parks and trails. It’s okay to look from far away, but it’s never a good idea to approach a wild animal. Also, if you are taking your dog along on your outside adventures, be sure to have them on a leash to keep them from disturbing the wildlife, and other park users as well. Learn more.
Related  Meet MetroParks' new chief of operations

If you find a struggling or lost animal or pet while you are on the trails, call the MetroParks Rangers’ non-emergency line at 937-222-HELP (4357).

  • Be considerate of other visitors. Finally, there are a lot of new people experiencing what makes our parks so near and dear to our hearts for the first time. Keep in mind that not everyone has the experience or the expertise that you may have. It is important to be kind and courteous to everyone you may encounter on the trails. Give the person heading uphill the right of way and leave your bluetooth speaker at home Learn more.

Share this post: