It's a simple concept: Leave No Trace.

Leave no trace of you to help protect the natural environment of our trails and mountains.

So that means don't shoot fireworks off one of Colorado’s 14ers.

But just after midnight on September 2, someone did just that. Debris from the fireworks was left on the ground. 

RELATED: Forest Service investigating illegal fireworks show on Mount Evans

So, it must be time for a reminder.

“Any trash left up there won’t decompose," said Lloyd Athearn the executive director of Colorado 14ers initiative. "There’s just not enough activity in the soil to biodegrade any materials."

Athearn said 353,000 people climbed 14ers in 2018 and that number continues to climb 5-6% annually.

These two 18-year-olds just finished hiking all 58 of Colorado's 14ers

RELATED: This Colorado native has brought hundreds of people up 14ers on annual group hikes

“What a lot of people don’t fully understand is how fragile the resources are in the alpine," Athearn said. "You have plants and animals that are developed to live at the farthest extent of life on this planet and they’re uniquely adapted to be in areas with high ultraviolet radiation, extremes of temperature and precipitation. But the achilleas heal of this vegetation is that it can’t handle being trampled.”

He said he wanted to remind people of the basics: 

  • Carry out what you carry in
  • Stay on the trail 
  • Keep your pet on a leash 
  • Don’t pick flowers

"Most people who go out and climb the fourteeners understand that these are really unique places and they generally speaking want to leave no trace," Athearn said

The investigation into who lit the fireworks on Mt. Evans is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement at 303-275-5266.

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