Join us in our mission to preserve and protect priceless geologic and paleontological resources. Staying on trail during your visit will keep John Day Fossil Beds scenic and enjoyable for future generations. Most visitors don’t mean to be destructive, but even unintentional damage is still damage. Using the slogan #DontHurtTheDirt, educating others on the Fossil Beds’ significance can be simple and fun!
Per the Superintendent’s Compendium, by law, hiking or pedestrian traffic is restricted to designated trails, or in undeveloped portions, to areas covered in grass and shrubs:
ALL areas are delicate and see increased visitation every year. Even in areas not specifically listed, please practice Leave No Trace and STAY ON THE TRAIL to protect these unique ecosystems. It is not just your feet, but the cumulative daily effect of yours and many others that takes a serious toll on the soil and plants.
Footprints and social trails worn into the landscape can last for decades, due to minimal rainfall and snow. While we all might like a "Trip to Mars" for an “otherworldly” moment, or the opportunity to capture the "perfect" selfie, these popular areas cannot accommodate the desires of the many who wish to wander off the trail. The presence of people and their long-lasting footprints left behind impairs enjoyment of scenic and photographic opportunities for other visitors. These damaging social trails also lead others to follow, unintentionally spreading the damage.
A variety of wildflowers grow during spring and summer months, supporting pollinators and other insects. If plants are picked or trampled, it can be devastating to the landscape and its inhabitants. A temporary dashboard display is not worth destroying a species’ ability to bloom the following year.
Footsteps compacting the soil, especially when trails are wet or have lingering snow, lead to stunted or eliminated plant growth. If a trail is too slick or muddy to navigate easily and safely, it is time to turn back.
Join Our EffortsHow will you encourage others using #DontHurtTheDirt to protect the landscape and paleontological resource?
Want to be involved in protecting the geologic and paleontological resources at John Day Fossil Beds? Learn about the Painted Hills Pals and other volunteer opportunities!
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Leave No Trace animates what you can do to help protect John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.
Last updated: August 4, 2022