Visit Bend Becomes Oregon’s First Leave No Trace Destination Partner


(Photo courtesy of Visit Bend)

On January 4, Visit Bend publicly launched Oregon’s first partnership between a destination organization and Leave No Trace, which uses science, education and stewardship to ensure a sustainable future for the outdoors.

“Visit Bend has long encouraged outdoor enthusiasts to follow Leave No Trace principles, so we’re taking things to the next level,” explained Visit Bend CEO Kevney Dugan. “By formally partnering with Leave No Trace, we can now leverage the internationally recognized work of Leave No Trace to further cement our commitment to respecting and protecting our region’s natural resources.”

Since education is a core part of Leave No Trace’s mission, Visit Bend created a set of Bend-specific Leave No Trace principles, including a website with details about best practices. Using those principles, Visit Bend commissioned a local artist to create a mural and sticker sheet spotlighting outdoor recreation tips like “pack it out” and “stick to the trail and respect other users.” The stickers are free to the public at the Bend Visitor Center, along with free, durable placard cards with detailed tips on recreating safely and responsibly in Bend’s wild places.

“During the pandemic, we saw a lot more people flocking to Oregon’s outdoor spaces in search of solitude and fresh air,” Dugan explained. “With any shift like that comes a learning curve where folks may not know how to properly dispose of waste or where they’re allowed to camp. This is a great opportunity to educate guests on responsible use of outdoor spaces.”

While the Leave No Trace stickers can be used on anything from water bottles to car bumpers, the educational cards are designed to attach to a backpack. Cards are available in both Spanish and English, and Visit Bend offers multiple versions of the card with tips specific to summer and outdoor recreation.

“Leave No Trace has long been the gold standard in responsible recreation practices,” explained Justin Ewer, Trails Program Manager for the Deschutes National Forest branch of the National Forest Service. “As Central Oregon continues to grow, implementing Leave No Trace principles is more important than ever. The partnership between Visit Bend and Leave No Trace has resulted in actionable recommendations specific to Central Oregon that are relevant to both experienced locals and first-time visitors.”

The partnership with Leave No Trace comes on the heels of several years in which Visit Bend focused substantial time and resources on creating more sustainable outdoor recreation. In 2017, Visit Bend introduced the Bend Pledge prompting locals and visitors to vow they’ll recreate kindly and responsibly when in Bend. In 2020, Visit Bend hired Sustainability Director Serena Gordon and launched the Bend Sustainability Fund, which funnels a portion of transient room tax dollars to projects that protect, enhance, or preserve places of natural or cultural significance around Bend. Since then, Visit Bend created the Strategic Partnership Program to invest in organizations like Central Oregon Landwatch, The Conservation Alliance, Embrace Bend, and other groups working to ensure Bend’s status as a sustainable, economically vibrant, and inclusive destination.

More information on following Leave No Trace principles in Bend can be found at The web page serves as a resource for those looking to enhance their knowledge of responsible outdoor recreation. The page also contains a link where local businesses, industry stakeholders, and members of the public can register for a February 9 training webinar about Leave No Trace principles.

“Making long term investments in our sustainable future is no longer an option, but an obligation,” explained Serena Gordon, Visit Bend’s Sustainability Director. “Bend is a uniquely special place, and it is our goal to see that it remains so. No one wants to see someone else’s picnic scraps left at Green Lakes or dog waste on the trail at Shevlin Park. If we all pitch in and follow Leave No Trace principles like packing out trash, we all win—the people, the wildlife, and the places that make Bend magical.”

About Visit Bend:
Visit Bend is a non-membership, non-profit economic development organization dedicated to promoting tourism responsibly on behalf of the City of Bend. We’re a leading provider of information on Bend, Oregon hotels, restaurants, activities, and Oregon vacation planning.

About Leave No Trace:
Leave No Trace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing programs, education, training and outreach in all 50 states and more than 100 countries around the globe. Utilizing the power of science, education for all and stewardship to support and protect nature, Leave No Trace is on a mission to ensure a sustainable future for the outdoors and the planet.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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