Development in Australia
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In May 2000 the Board of Leave No Trace in Boulder,
Colorado agreed to Omar Skiles’s proposal of a pilot international expansion of the Leave No Trace program in Australia.
A feasibility study undertaken in Australia found that land managers, educators, federal and state government agencies, outdoor retailers and schools generally agreed that there was a real and immediate need for a consistent national minimal impact language.
A working group was established in 2001 which comprised of representatives from land management agencies, tourism commission, outdoor equipment manufacturers and retailers and other interested parties. In March 2004 Leave No Trace Australia Limited was incorporated to implement and develop the program in Australia. Its focus is to produce materials and provide training that are relevant to Australia’s unique environmental and cultural needs while at the same time maintaining a consistency of message and branding.
The Leave No Trace Australia program provides supporting education material and activities as well as encouraging partnerships between various government and non-government stakeholders. This environmental education proposal has a formal approach (through training materials and curriculum) and an informal approach (through signage, tags, visitor information booklets, and videos).
Leave No Trace Australia has already established partnerships with various corporate, government and interest groups to assist in delivering a national minimal impact program. These include Aboriginal Tourism Australia, Australian Geographic, Qantas, the Australian Tourism Commission and the Kimberley Tourism Association.
Leave No Trace was piloted in the Kimberley in 2002 and received widespread commercial and community, including Indigenous traditional owners, support.
The Department of Environment and Heritage including the Australian Heritage Commission sponsored the customisation of the program to Australian conditions with $60,000. The Heritage Division, Parks Australia and Corporate Relations and Education Branch, support this program. GBRMPA is actively exploring best practice in the use of the marine environment and is currently considering the use of the Leave No Trace Australia program.
The Program has strong synergies with the National Action Plan for Environmental Education by raising the profile of environmental education and providing better coordination of environmental education activities throughout Australia
The Environment Protection and Heritage Ministers Council (EPHC), has supported the Going Places: developing natural and cultural heritage tourism in Australia – Key Opportunities report. One of the key opportunities is to develop a coordinated national minimal impact program that encourages environmental and social responsibility. The Leave No Trace program, adapted to Australian conditions, would deliver this key opportunity for the EPHC. One outcome of introducing the program to Australia is that a consistent set of minimal impact messages could be integrated into industry accreditation schemes and contribute to sustainable tourism in natural and cultural heritage places.
The National Environmental Education Council agreed on the 21 August 2003 to endorse the program and asked Minister Kemp to write to the Tourism Minister's Council to suggest consideration of Leave No Trace program as a key strategic action within A Medium to Long Term Strategy for Tourism for delivering a coordinated national minimal impact message program.
The Leave No Trace program is therefore well placed to deliver a national minimal impact program for Australia that promotes responsible outdoor recreation by all Australians and visitors to Australia in order to protect our unique natural and cultural heritage.
The future of the program depends on continuing to develop partnerships and funding opportunities with land managers, community groups, retailers, tourism operators, government agencies and the general public to deliver a consistent Leave No Trace message throughout Australia.
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