Press release from Transylvania County Tourism:
Brevard, NC: Transylvania County Tourism, through its sustainability committee Transylvania Always, will launch a special “Leave It Better” initiative beginning August 3. The innovative campaign consists of multiple short videos, ads and posters that encourage those who visit Transylvania County’s treasured woods and water to keep their footprint small and honor the natural beauty that surrounds them.
The videos and ads will be featured in an advertising campaign that will utilize broadcast, magazine, newspaper, digital and social media outlets. The posters will be distributed throughout the county.
“We are incredibly excited to unveil the ‘Leave It Better’ initiative,” said Aaron Baker, chair of Transylvania Always. “This campaign empowers visitors and locals alike to reflect on the impact we all have on our public lands and inspires us to not stop at leave no trace – but to go one step further and ‘Leave It Better.’”
Since being established by Transylvania County Tourism in 2017, Transylvania Always has been leading the way in efforts to protect Transylvania County’s natural resources. Early projects included partnering with Pisgah Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and several other organizations to reroute portions of the Cantrell Creek trail away from the streambed, as well as assisting in the development of a new trail connector between Pisgah National Forest and the City of Brevard’s Bracken Mountain Trail System at Horse Cove/Joel Branch.
The committee has also been front and center in focusing attention on waterfall safety. In addition to posters, waterfall safety cards and dedicated media events, Transylvania Always recently produced a video featuring emergency responders and forest leaders that was shared across multiple media outlets.
The “Leave It Better” campaign is the committee’s most ambitious and wide-ranging effort yet to make a profound difference when it comes to protecting the natural resources that bring so much joy and relaxation to the public – especially at a time when outdoor recreation’s importance has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
First and foremost, the campaign focuses on the problem and challenges of litter. Each year, millions of pounds of garbage are left behind in America’s forests, streams and rivers as visitors enjoy public lands. The “Leave It Better” initiative is designed to educate and encourage people to take responsibility for protecting and preserving these fragile natural assets.
“Educating the visitor in key areas has become one of our priorities,” said Clark Lovelace, executive director of Transylvania County Tourism. “From our waterfall safety initiative over the last few years to our Explore Responsibly campaign introduced when the pandemic hit to this new message asking visitors and local users to ‘Leave It Better,’ we want to do our part to promote appropriate behavior in our public lands.”
The public is invited to visit www.explorebrevard.com/leave-it-better for more information on how they can help.
Transylvania Always is proud to partner with public land managers and key area stakeholders to ensure the success of Leave It Better. Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO), a noted western North Carolina outdoor gear and hammock manufacturer, is working closely with Transylvania Always to further the initiative.
“As a longtime partner to Leave No Trace and champion of causes that help protect our parks and trails, ENO is proud to sponsor this community initiative,” said Laura Wallenta, marketing director at Asheville-based ENO. “Recreating responsibly and minimizing environmental impact is at the very core of our product design and strategic programming, and we’re looking forward to amplifying a long-lasting ‘Leave It Better’ message.”
The “Leave It Better” campaign is inspired by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, founded in 1994. Its work is built around promoting seven principles of outdoor responsibility that protect the natural world. These seven principles are: plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife and be considerate of other visitors.
Just this month, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics announced a partnership with Visit NC and the North Carolina outdoor recreation industry. This new partnership, the first that Leave No Trace has forged with an East Coast state, will encourage stewardship as part of a post-pandemic tourism strategy both statewide and in Transylvania County.
“Stewardship of our natural wonders ensures a future for the ageless places that define who we are, arouse our awe and make us humble, and turn our sights outward to infinite possibility,” said Wit Tuttell, director of VisitNC. “The ‘Leave It Better’ campaign and our Leave No Trace partnership align beautifully to cultivate a desire to learn and look after the land while we experience its abundant pleasures.”
The convergence of the two initiatives represents a big benefit for Transylvania County, according to Clark Lovelace.
“It’s exciting for us that VisitNC is partnering with Leave No Trace and carrying this important messaging across the state,” said Lovelace. “We feel our local campaign and the statewide efforts will amplify each other and help us drive our message home.”
The “Leave It Better” campaign was created by Market Connections, Transylvania County Tourism’s longstanding marketing partner.
“We know just how important this initiative is to everyone who treasures Transylvania County’s public lands,” said Nathan Jordan, creative director at Market Connections. “Our goal was to educate, but we wanted to do it in a way that people would find unforgettable.”
The short videos utilize a painstaking stop-motion photography process that magically transforms everyday trash into something extraordinary. The videos and posters will be featured on a landing page at ExploreBrevard.com.
As a Transylvania County resident, Aaron Baker is confident the new campaign can make a difference and change behaviors.
“With the incredible privilege of being able to live in a place surrounded by such majestic public lands comes the great responsibility to care for them so that they endure for future generations to enjoy,” said Aaron Baker. “It takes all of us.”
For videos and high-resolution imagery, click here.
About Transylvania County Tourism
Transylvania County Tourism’s (TCT) mission is to “generate and enhance tourism opportunities in Transylvania County through strategic promotion coordinated with tourism-related businesses and local government and to contribute to a vibrant, sustainable economy.” Funding for the organization is provided by a 5% occupancy tax on Transylvania County accommodations.
In addition to advertising and promotion, TCT annually sets aside funds for special projects and grants to help support tourism-oriented events and programs, including their Transylvania Always initiative focused on sustainability of the area’s natural recreational resources. TCT also manages a year-round Visitor Center, located at 175 E Main Street in downtown Brevard. To learn more, go to explorebrevard.com or contact executive director Clark Lovelace at (828) 884-8900.
For more information about Transylvania Always and the many non-profit organizations that support sustainability efforts in Transylvania County, go to ExploreBrevard.com/sustainability.