Roxborough State Park’s Leave No Trace Program

We've seen a decrease in the trash on the trails, natural repair of social trails, less wildlife disturbance, and more.
Leave No Trace Gold Standard Site logo
By receiving this highest standard of recognition, Gold Standard Sites become exemplary models, encouraging other public lands to ensure that Leave No Trace education is part of everyone’s experience when spending time outdoors.

Since receiving the Gold Standard designation from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in July 2018, the Roxborough State Park Leave No Trace program has continued to educate and communicate to our visitors about the importance of minimum impact outdoor recreation by practicing the seven principles of Leave No Trace.

Woodburn of Seven Leave No Trace Principles
A Woodburn of Seven Leave No Trace Principles is located in Roxborough State Park visitor center.

The seven Leave No Trace principles for the front country:

  1. Know Before You Go – properly plan before any outdoor activity.
  2. Stick To The Trails and Camp Overnight Right – staying on the designated trails and camping on durable surfaces minimizes impact to flora and fauna, and erosion. 
  3. Trash Your Trash and Pick Up Poop – leaving trash, including food scraps, may harm wildlife but also diminishes the park’s beauty.  Human waste that is not properly buried can lead to the spread of disease and pollute water.
  4. Leave It As You Find It – preserve the past, let others see the beauty, and don’t alter the landscape.
  5. Be Careful With Fire – human-caused fires are devastating.  Consider using camp stoves, but if a fire is necessary, use existing fire rings and keep the fire small.
  6. Keep Wildlife Wild – getting too close to animals or feeding them upsets their breeding, feeding and resting time.
  7. Share Our Trails and Manage Your Pet – being considerate of others makes the outdoor experience enjoyable for everyone.  Practice proper hiking and biking etiquette, and keep pets under control.
Big Foot and Talon celebrate at Big Foot Rocks the Rox
Big Foot and Talon celebrate at Big Foot Rocks the Rox

The program is proving to be successful at Roxborough as we have seen a decrease in trash on the trails, a natural repair of unauthorized or social trails, fewer people off-trail, less wildlife disturbance, and more talk from our visitors about Leave No Trace.  One major attraction at the park is the new trash “garden” located just off of the patio at the Visitor’s Center.  The garden was planted in May 2019 with various trash items with markers showing how long it takes these items to decompose in the environment.  In addition, we successfully held our first annual “Big Foot Rocks the Rox” Day on June 8, 2019.  This day included singing, presenting, and practicing the Leave No Trace principles and included a visit from Big Foot (the official mascot of Leave No Trace) and Talon, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Eagle. Look for our next Big Foot Day scheduled for May 30, 2020. 

 trash “garden”
New trash “garden” located just off of the patio at the Visitor’s Center. The garden, planted with various trash items, shows how long it takes for trash to decompose in the environment. 

Besides implementing Leave No Trace at our park, the Friends of Roxborough State Park and the Friends of Castlewood Canyon State Park partnered to be awarded a $5,000 grant from the Colorado Partners in the Outdoors to help other state parks and outdoor recreation areas implement Leave No Trace. The Roxborough Leave No Trace team is working with Castlewood Canyon State Park, Chatfield State Park, Staunton State Park, Barr Lake State Park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Eleven Mile and Spinney Mountain State Parks, Jackson Lake State Park, Denver Audubon, and Waterton Canyon to implement Leave No Trace. So far, the team has achieved the following with these other recreation areas:

  • Developed an electronic tool kit of materials for use by other parks to implement Leave No Trace.  The tool kit will be hosted by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics for use by recreation areas around the United States.
  • Built 6 physical tool kits that provide games, activities, and exercises for educating people in Leave No Trace.  The physical tool kits will be given to Castlewood Canyon, Barr Lake, Staunton, Eleven Mile, and Chatfield State Parks, and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife 6060 Broadway office for use by parks around the state.
  • Assisted Castlewood Canyon State Park in developing a Leave No Trace program that has been nominated for Gold Standard designation.
  • Conducted Leave No Trace awareness training for volunteers at Castlewood Canyon, Barr Lake, Chatfield, and Staunton State Parks, and at Waterton Canyon, Denver Audubon, Evergreen Audubon, and South Suburban.
  • Hosted teams from Boulder County Open Space and Mountain Parks, Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation, Waterton Canyon (Denver Water), and the Rocky Mountain State Park Executives Conference to share with them our experiences in Leave No Trace.

We thank the visitors of Roxborough State Park for your support of and practice in Leave No Trace at Roxborough and know that you will practice those principles in all of your outdoor recreation endeavors wherever you go.  To learn more about Leave No Trace, please visit

Article by Mike Thomas. Mike is a Volunteer Naturalist at Roxborough State Park.

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