Leave No Trace Hotspot

Help make a difference for the Wissahickon at the LNT Hot Spot!

Wissahickon Valley Park has been designated as a 2021 Leave No Trace Hot Spot!

The Hot Spot Program identifies areas suffering from severe human-related impacts that can thrive again with Leave No Trace solutions. Each location receives a unique, site-specific blend of programs aimed at a healthy and sustainable recovery: join us July 23 – 25 to participate in a weekend of interesting and impactful programming and make a difference for the Wissahickon!

Schedule of Events

Friday, July 23

Start off the weekend’s festivities with history hikes, a Leave No Trace-themed Quizzo, and the official launch of FOW’s Trash Smash World Championship!

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Wissahickon History Hike with Brad Maule

Join FOW for a hike through the Cresheim Valley and the Wissahickon’s industrial past. We’ll meet at Valley Green Inn for a 3-mile hike with stops at multiple old mills, a 17th-century geographic marker, a stand of native pine trees, and arguably the most beautiful scene in Philadelphia. We’ll consider how natural conservation informed Philadelphia’s earliest parkland efforts, look at the stewardship work FOW has done to protect the Wissahickon for nearly 100 years, and think through best practices as we look to the future. This hike is moderately difficult, so wear sturdy boots and be prepared for some elevation gain.  Register for the walks here.

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Leave No Trace Quizzo & Opening Ceremony of the Trash Smash World Championship

We’ll be kicking off the Leave No Trace Hotspot this evening with Quizzo – and the opening ceremonies for the FOW Trash Smash World Championship! Bring your friends and brush up on your knowledge of Leave No Trace principles (and Wissahickon-related trivia) to win – and if you’re feeling like a cleanup competition, sign up your team for Trash Smash before the evening begins. Register for the event here.

Saturday, July 24

We’ll be coming together to clean up and celebrate in Saturday’s events! Start out with some stewardship at a multi-site Valley Green cleanup, enjoy family friendly activities offered by our partners at Let’s Go Outdoors, and join a community celebration at Valley Green Inn afterwards.

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Leave No Trace Hotspot Service Day

Our Hot Spot volunteer cleanup will cover the Valley Green area, including Valley Green Parking Lots, Devil’s Pool, and Magargee Dam. Register for the service day here.

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Watershed Lessons with Let’s Go Outdoors

Join Let’s Go Outdoors at The Valley Green Inn for a kid-friendly watershed lesson all about how you can help protect the Wissahickon Valley Park, or any park near you! We will talk about the importance of staying on the trail, how to respect wildlife while exploring outdoors, and different pollutants you can help prevent from getting into our water. Register for the lesson here!

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM: After-Cleanup Celebrations!

Compete in the weirdest piece of trash stakes, guess the weight of trash we removed in the service day, and play more traditional outdoor games at the Valley Green Inn.

Sunday, July 25

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Leave No Trace Water Walk

As part of the Leave No Trace Hot Spot, join FOW Crew Leaders and Master Watershed Stewards Lisa Stout and Matthew Kokoszka for a loop through the Wissahickon watershed. We’ll learn about what a watershed is, the roles land and people play on the impact of our water, past & future FOW and Philadelphia Water Department Projects, and what you can do to ensure a healthy watershed! Register here.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Workshop for the Public: Community Building and Leave No Trace Practices

Join FOW, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, neighborhood partners, and community leaders for a workshop on building community around caring for Wissahickon Valley Park, facilitated by Leave No Trace. The workshop is open to all. Register for the event here.

What is a Leave No Trace Hot Spot?

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national organization that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly, including through the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. Their Hot Spot Program identifies areas suffering from severe human-related impacts that can thrive again with Leave No Trace solutions, and brings solutions and prevention measures from successful Leave No Trace programs in public spaces across the country to each Hot Spot.

With increased numbers of visitors in recent years, the scenic Valley Green area in Philadelphia’s much-loved Wissahickon Valley Park has experienced excessive trash, damage to vegetation and trees, and trail erosion from heavy recreational use. This year’s Hot Spot is designed to help members of our community learn about Leave No Trace principles, educational resources, and communication techniques in order to help preserve and protect our area for generations to come.

From July 23- August 8, team up to clean up Wissahickon Valley Park!

Stewardship doesn’t stop – sign up for Trash Smash!

The Leave No Trace Hot Spot also kicks off another of FOW’s summer stewardship programs: the FOW Trash Smash World Championship, an opportunity for park visitors to team up to clean up Wissahickon Valley Park! From July 23rd to August 8th, volunteers, friends, neighbors, and coworkers are challenged to pick up the most trash in the park to win for their team and everyone who visits the Wissahickon – with Friends of the Wissahickon providing gear to steward the park in style, fun activities, and an FOW membership for each registrant. The three winning teams (by number of trash bags removed) will also receive fabulous prizes as the Trash Smash World Champions. 

Find more information and register your team at fow.org/trashsmash!