Traveling Responsibly Within Our Communities
Whenever we can, we buy locally grown products and foods and donate leftover foods and goods to charities. We recycle in locations where recycling exists and practice the principles of Leave No Trace (pack it in, pack it out). And we contract with local business services at every opportunity.
Since Backroads was founded in 1979, we've made it our business to support the areas where we travel and the communities where we live through financial aid, material donations, people power and education. Though Backroads is a small company, we try to make a big impact by creatively using our resources where they'll do the most good. We encourage you to follow our lead and support the causes closest to your heart, wherever and whatever they may be. The interests of our guests and staff generate many of the causes that Backroads supports and has supported in the past. In recent years we've donated over one million dollars to the worthwhile causes of more than 150 organizations, including Natural Resources Defense Council, Run for the Rainforest, Trips for Kids, Summer Search and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA) has spearheaded a nationwide effort to preserve our national parks—the scenic vistas, vast landscapes and historic sites that tell the story of the American dream.
The NPCA has championed the creation of new parks and the protection of existing parks from dam construction and other potentially destructive development. Backroads is proud to offer active vacations in many of our national parks, including Wrangell-St. Elias, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Maine's Acadia and Alaska's Glacier Bay. For more information: 800-628-7275; www.npca.org.
International Ecotourism Society
Founded in 1990, the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) strives to make tourism a viable tool for conservation and sustainable development by fostering synergy among outdoor travel entrepreneurs, researchers and conservationists.
Each year, TIES identifies key ecotourism issues requiring international attention and undertakes initiatives to raise awareness and catalyze change. Costa Rica and Ecuador's Galápagos Islands—two favorite Backroads destinations—are just two areas benefiting from TIES attention. For more information: www.ecotourism.org; 202-347-9203.
Leave No Trace
Created in the late 1970s about the same time as Backroads - it is a cooperative effort among the U.S National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and dozens of other private partners such as Backroads.
Backroads supports Leave No Trace, a non-profit educational program that promotes responsible outdoor recreation by incorporating the "Leave No Trace" principles on our trips wherever possible. These include:
- Camping and traveling on durable surfaces: On our walking, hiking and mountain biking trips, we avoid and discourage cutting switchbacks, creating new trails or adding new trail markers. We want to keep our impact on the trails we travel on as minimal as possible
- Pack it in, pack it out: While we aren't doing any backpacking on our trips, we are very conscientious about picking up all our food and trash items when we are picnicking, camping or stopping for refreshments. Many people don't realize that even such biodegradable food items as nutshells, orange and banana peels and chips still take a long time to decompose. They also attract rodents and insects and generally create an eyesore.
- Leaving what you find behind: We discourage the urge to take away even a small souvenir piece of lava or coral or wildflowers. We respect the sites and treasures, plants and animals we see along the way. For more information: www.Lnt.org; 800-332-4100.
These are just a few of the ways we work to "Leave No Trace" when we travel the back roads. We encourage our guests to join us in our efforts to help keep the areas we visit pristine for those who follow us.