Leave No Trace Master Educator


The Leave No Trace Master Educator course provides participants with extensive training in Leave No Trace skills and ethics. This program was designed for those who work extensively in the outdoors as teachers, volunteers, rangers, instructors and guides. Those who complete this program, will be able to provide Leave No Trace Trainer programs.

The Leave No Trace Family

Leave No Trace Nature Waterfall

Minimizing our impact on the natural environment helps preserve pristine wilderness settings for generations to come.

According to Leave No Trace, there are over 11,500 Leave No Trace Master Educators worldwide. These educators represent over thirty countries and every one of the fifty states.

The Leave No Trace curriculum is recognized throughout the world, especially in the outdoor industry, as well as by land management agencies. Leave No Trace Master Educator graduates represent every corner of the industry, including — but not limited to — outdoor retail workers and executives; school teachers; representatives from the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service; state, county and city parks officials; and scout leaders, college outdoor club members, outfitters, and guides.


Credential Conferred

Those who complete this training will be recognized as Leave No Trace Master Educators by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Successful graduates of the Master Educator course have the ability to train others in Leave No Trace skills and ethics. Master Educators can conduct Leave No Trace Trainer courses (two-day) and Awareness Workshops (one-day or shorter).


Other Course Options

For those who desire a shorter and more economical program, check out our 2-day Leave No Trace Trainer course.  The LNT Trainer course is designed for outdoor leaders who will be providing the LNT training to their trip participants and clients, but not necessarily teaching the curriculum in depth.

Leave No Trace Master Educator


Content provided by Leave No Trace:

The first day of this program begins in a classroom, introducing the course and schedule, providing in-depth information on the overall Leave No Trace program, reviewing gear and packing. The remaining days are spent in the field on a backcountry trip, learning and practicing the principles of Leave No Trace.

LNT Master Educator Students

Leave No Trace students witnessing soil erosion. - Leave No Trace

Each course is staffed with a minimum of two highly experienced outdoor professionals who are Master Educator Instructors. You will learn Leave No Trace techniques through skits, discussions, and hands-on activities. To practice Leave No Trace teaching strategies in a supportive, educational environment, each participant will teach a short session focused on the seven Leave No Trace principles.

Most participants to complete a Master Educator Course receive a one-year membership to Leave No Trace. This membership gives new Master Educators better access to teaching resources, as well as closer contact with the Center for education, training, and outreach questions.

Those who are looking for a more economical, less comprehensive course in Leave No Trace principles should consider our 2-day Leave No Trace Trainer courses. These courses provide adequate preparation for trip leaders who are working under the direct or indirect supervision of more highly trained educators.

Leave No Trace Master Educator

Program Options

The American Alpine Institute has a mission "to provide world-class mountain education, exceptional guided experiences and to inspire natural preservation." The Leave No Trace Master Educator course allows us to relish in every aspect of our mission. We are able to provide high-end training in a mountainous environment in wilderness preservation and ethics.

To achieve both our company's mission, as well as the Leave No Trace Master Educator course's mission, AAI provides two options to Master Educator candidates. We have a backpacking program and an alpine climbing program.

It should be noted, though, that backpacking and climbing objectives are secondary to Leave No Trace objectives on these programs.

Pacific Northwest Backpacking Program (5-Days)

The AAI Leave No Trace Master Educator Backpacking option is the classic Master Educator option. The team meets for a classroom day on the first day and then spends the rest of the program in the backcountry. Some teams will move each day, whereas others will go to a basecamp and then do short jaunts from there to different viewpoints and destinations.

In May, June, October and November, the team will explore the Chuckanut Mountains just outside of Bellingham. We use this area because it is relatively dry in the wet months, while also being very close.

In July, August and September, our programs will complete a backpacking objective in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

Pacific Northwest Alpine Climbing (6-Days)

This program will be offered starting in 2021. This six-day program will cover all of the Leave No Trace Master Educator, while also making an attempt on a moderate alpine climb.

Program options will include the following:

  • Twin Sisters Ascent (from the east)
  • Sahale Peak Traverse
  • Mt. Baker via the Boulder Glacier


Other Program Options

AAI will be announcing other locations for Leave No Trace Master Educator programs throughout the coming seasons.

Leave No Trace Master Educator

Dates & Details

North Cascades, Washington Dates: 

  • Sep 04 - 09, 2023


  • April 22 - April 26, 2024
  • July 22 - July 26, 2024
  • Sept 02 - Sept 06, 2024 - Backpacking

Sierra Nevada, California Dates: 

  • Dates TBD


  • $845 / person for Backpacking Program


Capacity: 10 for Backpacking (minimum of 4 students)

Leave No Trace Wildlife

Observing wildlife from a distance is an integral part of Leave No Trace ethics.


Previous backpacking experience is required. Participants should be able to set-up a tent, use a camp stove, pack a backpack and operate in a wilderness setting, without significant instruction.

If you have not previously backpacked, you can gain the prerequisite experience by taking our 2-day introductory backpacking course.


Cost Inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusions:  Transportation to the program areas from AAI headquarters, all permits and camping fees, and all guide fees. On climbing programs, group technical climbing equipment is also included.

Exclusions: Items not included in the course fee include personal clothing, backpacking and camping gear, meals while on program, and travel insurance. Personal climbing gear is not provided on the alpine program. All equipment (climbing, camping, backpacking, etc.) may be rented from AAI's Equipment Shop.


Private Programming

This program may be provided privately at any appropriate location. Please call the American Alpine Institute office for a quote. 

Leave No Trace Master Educator

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