Leave No Trace Hot Spot

Panthertown Volunteers

August 30 – September 3
Panthertown Valley LNT Hot Spot Week

LNT Hot Spot

August 30 to September 3 is LNT Hot Spot Week in Panthertown Valley.
For the Hot Spot activation, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Team will be at Panthertown Valley and in our community leading a variety of workshops and events, including opportunities for community involvement. Get involved!

The Leave No Trace Hot Spot Program aims to provide visitors, land managers, volunteers, and the local community with tools and education to reduce severe impacts in natural areas and ensure a sustainable recreation future for all.

Hot Spots, including Panthertown Valley, are areas identified as suffering from severe human-related impacts that can thrive again with Leave No Trace solutions. Each location receives a unique, site-specific blend of programs aimed at a healthy and sustainable recovery. Since 2010, Leave No Trace has conducted over 100 Hot Spots in national parks and forests, state parks, city parks, and more to set these areas on a path to recovery.

Friends of Panthertown Image Copyright 2021

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Yosemite of the East,’ Panthertown Valley (part of the Nantahala National Forest of North Carolina) is home to dramatic granite cliffs, large waterfalls, trout-filled streams, and sweeping views. Because of these features, Panthertown is designated as a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area natural heritage site.

Thirty miles of backcountry trails in Panthertown Valley are open to hikers, and many of those trails also allow mountain biking and equestrian activities.

The well-established trail system and stunning landscape draw in more than 30,000 visitors from around the world each year.  This ever-increasing level of visitation to an area less than 7,000 acres has caused significant impacts over the years, including campsite impacts, campfire impacts, and proliferation of undesignated trails.

Participants who are new to Leave No Trace or have not had Leave No Trace training in recent years are encouraged to complete the self-paced (30 – 45 minute) Leave No Trace Online Awareness Course in advance. 

LNT Hot Spot Week in Panthertown

Please note: ✅ = Open To Public, 🔒= By Invitation

Schedule is subject to change. Group sizes are limited. RSVP and pre-registration is required to participate in workshops and service projects. CDC guidelines and local requirements regarding Covid safety will be followed for all in-person activities. Contact us with questions.

DAY 1 –
Monday, August 30 Leave No Trace Hot Spot 🔥

Leave No Trace Online Awareness Course
This free online course is available anytime. No registration needed.
✉️ Contact us with questions.

Participants who are new to Leave No Trace or have not had Leave No Trace training in recent years are encouraged to complete the self-paced (30 – 45 minute) Leave No Trace Online Awareness Course in advance. 

🔒 Introductory Stakeholder Meeting (by invitation)
🔒 Private Impact Tour of Panthertown (by invitation)

DAY 2 –
Tuesday, August 31 Leave No Trace Hot Spot 🔥

🔒 Effective Communication of Leave No Trace
This interactive virtual workshop is by invitation only.
✉️ Contact us with questions.

This workshop is geared toward those who engage in public outreach, education, interpretation, guiding, etc.

Volunteer Recognition & Trail Tales
Due to Covid-19 concerns for indoor gatherings, the “Volunteer Recognition & Trail Tales” event has been postponed to later this fall. Updated info TBA.

DAY 3 –
Wednesday, September 1Leave No Trace Hot Spot 🔥

Leave No Trace Introductory Workshop – Skills & Ethics
Free interactive workshop at Bridge Park in Sylva. Public welcome!
✉️ Contact us with questions

Meet & Greet: 5:30 – 6:00pm
Workshop: 6:00 – 7:00pm


76 Railroad Avenue, Sylva

*** RSVP/Registration Now Open – Click Here To Register ***

Bring a chair and enjoy this grassy spot with a covered pavilion on Scott’s Creek in historic downtown Sylva. Arrive early and stay late to explore downtown or take a short walk to award-winning local restaurants, breweries, and a farmer’s market. Worth the trip.

Topics in this interactive workshop include:

  • Overview of Leave No Trace principles that protect the outdoors while minimizing our impacts to the land, soil, vegetation, water, wildlife, cultural resources and other visitors.
  • Leave No Trace guidelines to practice, promote and share whether in the backcountry, frontcountry, your favorite local parks and natural areas or in your everyday life.
  • Programs and resources of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and ways to get more involved.

🔒 Leave No Trace for Outdoor Leaders – Teaching Tools for Responsible Recreation
This interactive workshop at Western Carolina University is by invitation only.
✉️ Contact us with questions.

This workshop is designed for outdoor educators, guides, adventure program trip leaders, and park and recreation staff and students who will gain skills and knowledge to incorporate Leave No Trace into their work as well as teach Leave No Trace to all experience levels and in varied environments.

DAY 4 –
Thursday, September 2 (9am – 3pm)

The Great Panthertown Campsite Clean-Up
*** Click Here To Sign-Up ***

Volunteers will work on service projects to address campsite impacts such as removing trash, pruning and dispersing brush, drainage improvements, campfire ring and tent pad upkeep, etc. Limited to 20 volunteers. LUNCH provided! Register early!

In partnership with:
> Watershed Association of Tuckasegee River (WATR)
> National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)
> Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (LNT)
> U.S.D.A. Forest Service (USFS)

DAY 5 – Friday, September 3Leave No Trace Hot Spot 🔥

🔒 Leave No Trace Action Planning Meeting / Hot Spot Wrap Up (by invitation)

Please contact us if you are interested in participating as a partner, stakeholder, or volunteer during LNT week in Panthertown. Workshop registration opens soon. Thank you for your interest!

Friends of Panthertown has proudly partnered with Leave No Trace since 2014.

Friends of Panthertown
Help Sustain Our Trails

LNT Hot Spot Week in Panthertown is Sponsored By These Community Partners:

DD Bullwinkel's Outdoors
Play On Jackson County