The Leave No Trace organization has selected The Community Forest as a 2023 Spotlight site. As outdoor areas all over the country are being impacted by record use, this new initiative from Leave No Trace shines a light on communities rising to meet this challenge with multi-day, onsite education, and stewardship programs.
From May 18 – 20, 2023, a Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team will be in River Falls, WI with co-hosts Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT) and Kinni Corridor Collaborative (KinniCC) to deliver Leave No Trace education as well as to partner on increasing awareness and volunteer opportunities for ecological restoration and stewardship projects.
Sites are nominated for the Leave No Trace Spotlight initiative by local land management agencies or community groups. The diverse sites chosen in 2023 span the country, each with unique environmental challenges. The goal of the initiative is to equip each Spotlight area with relevant Leave No Trace tools that address the impacts the site is facing and ultimately, to foster healthy lands and people.
“The Spotlight initiative highlights the great steps a community can take to protect an area that they cherish,” according to Dana Watts, the Executive Director of Leave No Trace. This year, the Airbnb Community Fund has made this program possible through a generous grant.
Watts continues, “The three-day Spotlight features workshops for stakeholders and Leave No Trace education for the public at large. It also will include opportunities for the community and our Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team, who will be there conducting the initiative, to roll up their sleeves together at the Spotlight site and get some work done.”
“The Community Forest is a gateway 40-acre old-growth forest that provides public access trails connecting to the 70-acre River Falls School Forest, and 65-acre River Hills Park and 5-mile Kinnickinnic River trail system in River Falls, WI. This 175-acre urban and wild recreation area is used year-round by our residents and visitors to River Falls for enjoying activities like meditation, yoga, walking, biking, birding, science and conservation education, photography, geocaching, camping and access for fishing and paddling.” said Judie Babcock, President of Kinni Corridor Collaborative.
Babcock continues, “We’re excited to co-host the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team for this 3-day event. We highlighted the Leave No Trace Principles at the Earth Fest 2023 event in April. Over 1,000 attendees confirmed that the community values our ‘Kinni’, a Class I Trout Habitat and Outstanding Resource Water, and The Community Forest. The Spotlight Initiative will enable us to connect more deeply with the community to ensure the health and resilience of the natural areas and the Kinni.”
The following events are free and open to the public and we encourage people of all ages and abilities to attend. For more information visit https://lnt.org/event/leave-no-trace-spotlight-kinnickinnic-river-land-trust/ or the River Falls Chamber of Commerce Events website https://tourism.rfchamber.com/events/calendar. The River Falls Community Foundation, affiliate of the St Croix Valley Foundation, provided a grant to fund the expenses for the Thursday and Friday events.
Thursday, May 18 – 8 to 10 am: Meet the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team and Co-Hosts Open House at the Country Inn, 1525 Commerce Court, River Falls, WI 54022.
Thursday, May 18 – 5 to 8 pm: Outreach at the Farmers’ Market
Come out to the weekly Farmers’ Market for fresh, tasty, local food and beverages at Rush River Brewery and Bistro, 990 Antler Court, River Falls, WI 54022. Visit with Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team, Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, Kinni Corridor Collaborative, Kiap-TU-Wish, Kinni Lodge & Outfitters, and other local organizations that support sustainable and accessible recreation.
Friday, May 19 – 5 to 8 pm: Social with the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team and the Kinni Stream Team
Swing by The Garage Bikes and Brews 109 W Cedar, River Falls, WI 54022 to learn about the 2023 River Monitoring Program and Leave No Trace Principles when enjoying outdoor recreation. Be sustainable by walking or biking over to The Garage.
Saturday, May 20 10 am to 2 pm: “Get Outside and Leave No Trace”hike and service event. Meet us at The Community Forest parking lot on County Road FF across from the River Falls Dog Park or Kinnickinnic River Trailhead #11 at River Hills Park. Join friends and family in a self-guided hike along trails on the south side of the Kinnickinnic River, both sides of the Rocky Branch tributary and rolling hills of The Community Forest and River Falls School Forest to see the native plants and animals and your neighbors and friends. This event Includes a nature scavenger hunt for kids, trash collection and education about Leave No Trace while enjoying outdoor recreation. KRLT will have gloves and bags available for the Trash collection or bring your own 5-gallon bucket to pick up litter and recyclables.