The Emory & Henry Outdoor Program is committed to sustainability, cultivating ecological awareness and responsibility in its participants. The E&H Outdoor Program is part of a community that includes many forests, rivers, and caves, and the Program believes that healthy communities rely upon reciprocity and the individuals who take the initiative to give as much as they receive. It is all about three important ideas: Leave No Trace, maintenance, and reclamation.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics provides the Program a guiding set of principles. As the Program introduces E&H students, faculty, and staff to the wonders of backpacking, paddling, caving, and rock climbing, it also communicates the reality of backcountry impact and strives to leave the places explored undisturbed for the next generations to enjoy.
Backcountry trails like the Appalachian Trail make the beauty and solitude of nature more accessible, and as the E&H Outdoor Program enjoys the hiking and backpacking the A.T. affords, the Program engages trail maintenance projects. Partnering with the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club, students, faculty, and staff repair trails, volunteering their sweat and strong backs for the perpetuation of backcountry access.
There is no shortage of garbage, and the E&H Outdoor Program takes the reclamation initiative to remove as much junk as possible from local caves, streams, and forests. Cooperating with the Environmental Science Department and the Appalachian Center for Community Service, Blacksburg Cave was cleaned up and gated, and recently the South Fork of the Holston River was the focus of another collaborative debris removal effort.