Research and Reading

The Leave No Trace programme internationally is founded on research in recreation ecology, social sciences (human behaviour and understandings in natural contexts) as well as educational research into powerful learning. We are beginning the task of collating the research that has been done on minimum impact travel and environmental care in New Zealand and the international context. Check through the following principals below for links and references to relevant research. This page has been put together by Chris North from the University of Canterbury.

The sidelining of environmental care education in outdoor education programmes in New Zealand: Why it happens, why it shouldn’t and what we can do about it.

The Efficacy of the two day Leave No Trace trainer course

Factors Influencing Behavioral Intentions for Leave No Trace Behavior in National Parks

The role Leave No Trace within a broader outdoor learning curriculum

Impacts to Wildlife: Managing Visitors and Resources to Protect Wildlife

To make us aware of other research that is not covered here please contact

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Every outdoor activity is different so there are specific environmental and safety considerations for every activity

New Zealand Research

  • Kerry Wray; Michael Harbrow; Bronek Kazmierow, Planning for visitor management at Mason Bay (Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island) (2005) DOC Research and Development Series, no 22.
  • Cessford G, and Edginton M. 2007. Defining values in place: a practical application for visitor management in protected areas. In: Watson, Alan; Sproull, Janet, Dean, Liese, comps. 2007. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: 8th World Wilderness Congress symposium: September 30–October 6 2005; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-49. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.
  • Cessford, G. (Ed.) (2001) The state of wilderness in New Zealand. Department of Conservation. Wellington

International Research

  • Cole, David N. 1989. Low-impact recreational practices for wilderness and backcountry. USDA Forest Service. General Technical Report. INT-265
  • Marion, Jeffrey L., Teresa A. Martinez, and Robert D. Proudman. 2001. Trekking poles: Can you save your knees and the environment? The Register 24(5):1, 10, 11.
  • Stewart, William; Cole, David; Manning, Robert; Valliere, William; Taylor, Jonathan; Lee, Martha. 2000. Preparing for a Day Hike at Grand Canyon: What Information Is Useful?. In: Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin,
  • Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference – Volume 4: Wilderness visitors, experiences, and visitor management; 2000 May 23 –27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-4. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 221-225.
  • Stoner, Mary A., Kelly, M. Hanlon, S. 1993. Techniques and equipment for wilderness travel with stock. USDA Forest Service. 9323-2839-MTDC. 60 p.
  • Cole, D.N., Watson, A.E., Hall, T.E. and Spildie, D.R. (1997) High-Use Destinations in Wilderness: Social and Biophysical Impacts, Visitor Responses, and Management Options USDA Forest Service Intermountain Research Station Paper 496, Ogden. Utah.

Travel and Camp on Durable Ground

Beyond leaving only footprints, a new awareness of impact

New Zealand Research

  • Squires, C. (2007). An assessment of trampling impact on alpine vegetation, Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks, New Zealand. Unpublished Master of Science, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • McCrone, A, Visitor impacts on marine protected areas in New Zealand, 2001, Science for Conservation no. 173 , DOC
  • Cessford, G.R. 1995a.`Off-Road Impacts of Mountain Biking: A Literature Review and Discussion.’ Science and Research Series No. 92. Science and Research Division. Department of Conservation, Wellington.
  • Doorne, S. (1999) Visitor experience at the Waitomo Glowworm Cave. Science for Conservation 95. Department of Conservation, Wellington.
  • Schmekal, A.A. (2001) Condensation as a Microclimate Process: Measurement and Analysis in the Glowworm Cave, New Zealand. Unpublished MSc Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Auckland.
  • Ward, J., Burns, B., Johnson, V., Simmons, D.G. and Fairweather, J.R. (2000) Interactions between Tourists and the Natural environment: Impacts of Tourist Tramping on Geothermal Vegetation and Tourist Experiences at Geothermal Sites in Rotorua. Tourism Research and Education Centre Report No. 16 Lincoln University, Canterbury.

International Research

  • Camp, R.J., Knight, R.L. 1998. Effects of rock climbing on cliff plant communities at Joshua Tree National Park, California. Conservation Biology, 12 (6), 1302-1306
  • Cole, D. 1990. Trampling disturbance and recovery of cryptogamic soil crusts in Grand Canyon National Park. Great Basin Naturalist 20:321-326
  • Cole, David N. 1993. Trampling effects on mountain vegetation in Washington, Colorado, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. USDA Forest Service Res. Pap. INT-464. 56p.
  • Cole, D.N., 1995. Experimental trampling of vegetation. I. Relationship between trampling intensity and vegetation response. Journal of Applied Ecology 32 :203-214.
  • Cole, David N. 1995. Recreational trampling experiments: effects of trample weight and shoe type. Research Note INT-RN-425.
  • Cole, D.N. 1995. Disturbance of natural vegetation by camping: experimental applications of low-level stress. Environmental Management. 19 :405-416.
  • Cole, David N.; Monz, Christopher A. 2004. Spatial patterns of recreation impact on experimental campsites. Journal of Environmental Management 70: 73-84. Available at:
  • Hassig, D. W. 1991. A preliminary investigation of conditions of soil and ground cover vegetation on campsites closed to use in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area (New York). Thesis. State University New York, Syracuse, New York. 77pp.
  • Hawkins, J. P., Roberts, C. M. 1993. Effects of recreational scuba diving on coral reefs – trampling on reef-flat communities. J. Appl. Ecol. 30 (1) :25-30
  • Jenkins, Carolyn. And Ashley Olson and Jennifer L. Ruesink. 2001. Watch Your Step: Impacts of Trampling on a Rocky Shoreline of San Juan Island, Washington. Department of Zoology, University of Washington
  • Leung, Yu-Fai and Jeffrey L. Marion. 1999. Spatial strategies for managing visitor impacts in National Parks. 17(4): 20-38.Journal of Park and Recreation Administration
  • Leung, Yu-Fai and Jeffrey L. Marion. 2000. Recreation impacts and management in wilderness: A state-of-knowledge review. In: Cole, D.N. and others (eds.), Proceedings: Wilderness Science in a Time of Change; Vol 5: Wilderness ecosystems, threats, and management, pp. 23-48; May 23-27, 1999, Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-Vol-5. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.
  • Leung, Yu-Fai and Jeffrey L. Marion. 2004. Managing impacts of campsites. In: Buckley, Ralf (ed.), Environmental Impact of Tourism, Cambridge, MA: CABI Publishing. pp. 245-258.>
  • Marion, Jeffrey L. and Yu-Fai Leung. 2004. Environmentally sustainable trail management. In: Buckley, Ralf (ed.), Environmental Impact of Tourism, Cambridge, MA: CABI Publishing. pp. 229-244.
  • Reid, Scott E. and Jeffrey L. Marion. 2004. An adaptive management assessment of new camping policies in Shenandoah National Park. Environmental Conservation 31(4):274-282.>
  • Sun, D., Liddle, M. J. 1993. A survey of trampling effects on vegetation and soil in eight tropical and subtropical sites. Environmental Management. 17 (4) :497-510.
  • Other places to look for research on mountain biking

Dispose of Waste Properly

Please take out all rubbish, yours and others!

New Zealand Research

  • Garrard, R. (2008). Inappropriate Waste Disposal in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park:Potential Problems, Potential Solutions. . Paper presented at the International Outdoor Recreation and Education Conference, Lincoln, New Zealand.

International Research

  • Cilimburg, A., Monz C. & Kehoe, S. 1997. Wildland recreation and human waste: A review of problems, practices and concerns. Unpublished manuscript, National Outdoor Leadership School, Lander, WY. 31pp.
  • Ells, Michael D., Lee, Kathryn J. 2000. The fate of feces and fecal microorganisms in human waste smeared on rocks in an arid environment and its impacts on public health. National Outdoor Leadership School, National Park Service, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Ferris State University. 31p.

Leave What You Find

Conserve the past, and let others share the joys of discovery

New Zealand Research

  • L. Thornley and A. Waa. Increasing public engagement with historic heritage: a social marketing approach, Science for Conservation 294. p 57.
  • Cessford, G.R. and Dingwall, P.R. 1999. An approach to assessing the environmental impacts of tourismCASNOTE 247. Science and Research Unit, Department of Conservation, Wellington. Cessford, G.R. 1997.Impacts of visitors in natural and historic resources of conservation significance. Part 2 – Research and information needs’ Science and Research Internal Report No. 157. Science and Research Division, Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Cessford, G.R. and Dingwall P.R. 1997 (eds.). `Impacts of visitors in natural and historic resources of conservation significance. Part 1 – Workshop Proceedings‘ Science and Research Internal Report No. 156. Science and Research Division, Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand.

International Research

  • Ward, C. and J. Roggenbuck. 2003. Understanding park visitor’s responses to interventions to reduce petrified wood theft. Journal of Interpretation Research 8:1, 67-82
  • Widner, C.J. and Roggenbuck, J. W. 2000. Reducing the Theft of Petrified Wood at Petrified Forest National Park, Journal of Interpretation Research. Vol 5.

Minimise the Effects of Fire

  • Check back for more info.

Respect Wildlife and Farm Animals

  • Check back for more info.

Be Considerate of Others

  • Check back for more info.

Leave No Trace Research

The bibliography below contains references to research or writings on the effect of Leave No Trace or similar programmes. We include articles critical of Leave No Trace on this list as we are open to debate on the efficacy of our programmes. In fact, the more people indulge in this debate the better as it shows more people are thinking about environmental care!

  • Cole, D. N. (1998). Written appeals for attention to low-impact messages on wilderness trailside bulletin boards: experimental evaluations of effectiveness. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 16(1), 65-79.
  • Confer, J. J., Absher, J. D., Graefe, A. R., & Hille, A. (1998, Apr 05-07). Relationships between visitor knowledge of “leave no trace” minimum-impact practices and attitudes toward selected management actions. Paper presented at the 1998 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium, Bolton Landing, Ny.
  • Daniels, M. L., & Marion, J. L. (2005). Communicating Leave No Trace Ethics and Practices: Efficacy of Two-Day Trainer Courses. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 23(4), 1-19.
  • Foster, R. (1996, Nov 01-05). Mapping wilderness perception habitats: Evaluation of environmental literacy via wilderness education programs. Paper presented at the 25th Annual Conference of the North American Association for Environmental Education, San Francisco Bay Area, Ca.
  • Griffin, C. (2004, Mar 28-30). Leave No Trace and National Park Wilderness Areas. Paper presented at the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium, Bolton Landing, NY.
  • Marion, J. L., & Reid, S. (2007). Minimising Visitor Impacts to Protected Areas: The Efficacy of Low Impact Education Programmes. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 15(1), 5-27.
  • Morley, L., Chase, M. R., Day, R. W., & Lawhon, B. (2008). Conviction of the Heart: Implementing Leave-No-Trace Principles in Outdoor Recreation. JOPERD: The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 79(7), 29-34.
  • North, C. (2008). Watching Where You Go. The Climber, Issue 64(Winter), 20-21.
  • Rossiter, K. (2006). Loving the Land to Death or Loving the Land for Life: A Foundational Look at Recreation Ecology. Association of Outdoor Recreation & Education Conference Proceedings, 79-82.
  • Settina, N. (2006). Effectiveness of Leave No Trace Education at Reducing Camping Impacts in Green Ridge State Forest, Maryland. Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland.

Other Related Reading

This is a list of books on New Zealanders and our relationship with the outdoors that we have enjoyed. Please add to this list by contacting us with suggestions.

  • Abbott, Mick, & Reeve, Richard (Eds.). (2011). Wild heart: The possibility of wilderness in Aotearoa New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.
  • Park, G. (1995). Nga Uruora; The Groves of Life (2003 ed.). Wellington: Victoria University Press.
  • Park, G. (2006). Theatre Country. Essays on landscape and whenua. Wellington: Victoria University Press.
  • Temple, P. (Ed.). (1998). Lake, mountain, tree. Auckland, New Zealand: Godwit Publishing.
  • Kawharu, M. (Ed.) (2002). Whenua; Managing Our Resources. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Books.
  • Young, D (2004). Our Islands, Our Selves. Dunedin, University of Otago Press.

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