Shenandoah National Park reminds visitors to “leave no trace” behind

Shenandoah National Park Swift Run Gap entrance.
Shenandoah National Park Swift Run Gap entrance.(WVIR)
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 8:14 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Before heading to Shenandoah National Park this year, the park has some reminders for visitors to be clean and respectful.

In 2020, the park saw a 15% increase in park visitation from the previous year, and so far in 2021, they are seeing the same trends, and unfortunately, some are leaving garbage behind.

“There are a lot of people at our campgrounds and picnic areas and they’re still leaving trash behind -- what we would call unsecured food and garbage,” Sally Hurlbert, a management specialist with Shenandoah National Park, said.

Hurlbert reminds visitors to make sure their food and garbage make it into a trash can. If they are full, she asks that you take your waste home with you instead of leaving it outside the can.

“Because when you leave your trash out, it’s an invitation for animals to come and eat the trash,” Hurlbert said. “They have no idea the difference between food and garbage and we really don’t want them eating plastics and things like that.”

Some park rangers are even seeing people leave plastic bags of dog waste on trails and at scenic overlooks.

The National Park Service asks visitors to follow its seven “Leave No Trace” principles:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  3. Dispose of waste properly.
  4. Leave what you find.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts.
  6. Respect wildlife.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information from the National Park Service, click here.

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