Leslie Appling
Wilderness guide and a leader of the Leave No Trace movement – 2003

Leslie is a passionate and articulate educator, with 30 years experience teaching leadership, teamwork, outdoor skills, and environmental ethics. She has led extended wilderness expeditions in Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Patagonia, Australia, New Zealand, and all over the western US. Her guiding expertise ranges from alpine mountaineering and rock climbing, to whitewater canoeing and sea kayaking. Leslie has literally guided thousands of outdoor recreationalists and aspiring wilderness leaders. She has worked with groups as diverse as NASA shuttle crews and Australian Aboriginals.

Leslie has been instrumental in the spread of Leave No Trace, particularly in California, where she has trained outfitters, outdoor educators, scouts, and a generation of federal land management agency staff. Farther afield, she has worked with the government of Saudi Arabia as part of a ground-breaking ecotourism initiative, using LNT principles as a key part of guide certification.

Leslie has a particular passion for empowering women in the outdoors, and has led women’s adventure trips for many years. She has summited the highest peaks in North America and the “Lower 48” with female teams. She has taught hundreds of women to rock climb in Joshua Tree, and led numerous explorations of the High Sierra and the Southwest deserts. She trains female guides, and considers gender-based learning and leadership differences to be important and wonderfully enriching.

Leslie’s passion for conservation has been a driving force in her career. She believes that exposing people to the natural world will inevitably deepen their appreciation for all life. In this way, a political constituency is created that will advocate for the protection of that life.

When not guiding, Leslie enjoys exploring some of the more interesting corners of the planet via sea kayak.