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Tread Lightly

Frequently Asked Questions

Why “Tread Lightly!”?

Encouraging responsible recreation on public lands will help us maintain access for future generations. Treading lightly will prevent natural resource damage, strengthen wildlife, protect water resources and reduce conflict with other recreationists or land owners.

Remember, respected access is open access.


What is the history behind Tread Lightly!?

Tread Lightly! is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship. The program was launched in 1985 by the US Forest Service to address increased use of off highway vehicles on public lands and it became a nonprofit organization in 1990.

Visit About Us.


How can I Tread Lightly!?

By following the 5 TREAD Principles and reviewing the tips Tread Lightly! offers. Visit the responsible tips page for more information.


What are the 5 TREAD Principles?

Travel Responsibly on land by staying on designated roads, trails and area. Go over, not around, obstacles to avoid widening the trails. Cross streams only at designated fords. when possible, avoid wet, muddy trails. On water, stay on designated waterways and launch your watercraft in designated areas.


Respect the Rights of Others including private property owners, all recreational trail users, campers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undsiturbed. Leave gates as you found them. Yield rightof way to those passing your or going uphill. On water, respect anglers, swimmers, skiers, boaters, divers and those on or near shore.


Educate Yourself prior to your trip by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies. Plan for your trip, take recreation skills classes and know how to operate your equipment safely.


Avoid Sensitive Areas on land such as meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams. Stay on designated routes. This protects wildlife habitats and sensitive soils from damage. Don’t disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites. On water, avoid operating your watercraft in shallow waters or near shorelines at high speeds.


Do Your Part by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species and repairing degraded areas.


These principles can also be found here.


Where does Tread Lightly! get funding?

Most of the funding that Tread Lightly! receives is from the private sector, such as corporate donations and contributions from members – like recreation clubs, outfitters, dealers and individuals. A small amount comes from the Government (Federal Highway Administration Recreational Trails Program, as well as state grants).

For more information on our government members, visit our Government Members Page.


I really like the idea of Tread Lightly!.

How can I get involved?

Become a Member! For more information on individual memberships, click here.

The easiest way to get invovled and promote the message is to encourage responsible recreation in the community.


Can I use the Tread Lightly logo?

Where can I get it and how can I use it?

Written permission to use the Tread Lightly! logo may be obtained in some circumstances and for educational use only.

Many corporations find it good business to support Tread Lightly!. By becoming and Official Partner, you will be able to utilize the Tread Lightly! Official Partnership logo.

To become an official partner, click here.


I’d like to request materials for an event.

How do I do this?

The Tread Trainer Education Trunk is one of the best ways to spread the Tread Lightly message. It’s easier than ever now! Click here.

For more information on building your own education trunk. For more supplies visit our educational materials store.


Can I reprint Tread Lightly! principles?

Of course! Tread Lightly! principles are meant to be shared and supported. They can be printed and reproduced in their entirety without permission at any time. However, they cannot be changed or modified without permission from Tread Lightly!.


How can I volunteer with Tread Lightly!?

The Tread Trainer program also allows people to get involved with spreading the Tread Lightly! message. Click here for more information on becoming a Tread Trainer or finding one in your area.

Another great way to get involved is to become an official friend of Tread Lightly!. Click here for more information on becoming an official friend.

Volunteer by “Doing Your Part” and applying for a grant from the Tread Lightly! Cleanups by Quadratec grant program. Tread Lightly!’s Cleanups by Quadratec grants are designed to help individuals and clubs organized clean-ups, trail maintenance work days and other small stewardship projects. The maximum grant amount is $1,000 (average grant is around $500) and those funds can be used to rent equipment or purchase supplies like garbage bags, water or snacks for volunteers, etc.

Tread Lightly! Cleanups by Quadratec Grant Program.


How can I become a member and

how much does it cost?

The cost of membership varies between the types of memberships. For more information, click here.


Our company/organization/agency wants to

join as a partner. How can we do this?

Click here for more information on the levels of involvement of partners.


Who provides Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer courses?

Tread Lightly! staff are the only providers of the Master Tread Trainer course. Tread Lightly! staff and Master Tread Trainers can proved the Tread Trainer course. Tread Trainers are equipped to provided Tread Lightly! awareness programming.


How can I get into a Tread Trainer class?

What is the cost?

Always consult the website for upcoming courses in your area or feel free to contact our Education and Stewardship Manager at  evan@treadlightly.org for more information.

Click here for more information or to locate a Trainer.


Does Tread Lightly! training expire?

Tread Trainers must provide one Tread Lightly! promotion or presentation within two years of their initial training to remain active and each two years thereafter. If this requirement is not met, the Tread Trainer will no longer be active.


How can I request a Tread Trainer

course in my state?

Fill out this application and Tread Lightly! will work to help you get trained.


What is Restoration for Recreation?

Tread Lightly! established its Restoration for Recreation program in 1997. Since then, Tread Lightly!, it’s government partners, industry and non-governmental partners, along with the sweat of volunteers, have been transforming damage and degraded areas into enjoyable recreation resources. The program also educates the public about outdoor ethics to minimize future impacts.

Click here for more information.


What is the Respected Access Campaign?

Respected Access is Open Access is a multi-dimensional education and outreach campaign by Tread Lightly!. the message is simple – responsible behavior leads to continued access. Respected Access is Open Access was created at the request of the Federal Lands Hunting and Shooting Sports Roundtable.The collective goals are to maintain and enhance access to public and private lands for continued and expanded opportunities to enjoy hunting, angling and other types of outdoor recreation.

More can be discovered on the official Respected Access website or the Respected Access overview


How many different ethics

quick-tip brochures are there?

There are 18 different brochures covering a variety of recreational activities both motorized and non motorized. We also have one brochure on trail sharing and the basic Tread Lightly! Informational pamphlet. Click here

Official Partners
See All Partners