By Utah National Parks Council
Mar 31, 2015

Leave No Trace Trainer Course – It’s More than You Expect!

Jake Smith Pic

Jake Smith, Scoutmaster, Troop 1331, chartered by the Vineyard 2nd Ward

I had just recently been asked to serve on our scout unit’s committee.  This was the first time I’d been back involved with scouting since I earned my Eagle Scout 15 years previous.  Scouting was something I enjoyed as a boy and something that helped instill in me a respect for this world we live on and a sense of responsibility to take care of it.  I always knew the basics of responsible camping, such as “pack it in, pack it out” and not to be stupid with fire in the wilderness.  But again, this was my first time involved in scouting as an adult leader.  My eyes soon opened to all the myriad of training opportunities available and recommended for adult leaders, to help us be able to teach these boys the principles of how to be responsible and safe in the outdoors.

LNT Class

Leave No Trace course in the Clyde Lodge at Camp Maple Dell

One training course I took notice of was for the Leave No Trace Trainer Course.  I read up on it a bit and decided that this course would be worth my time, especially if I was ever asked to be a scout leader to work directly with the boys and not just a committee member.   The course was held up at Camp Maple Dell.  Participants were told they could sleep in the lodge or out in a tent.  Female participants could use the staff cabins nearby.  We had the option to select a meal plan or bring our own food to cook.  I elected for the meal plan, as I really didn’t feel like taking the time to cook and clean up.  I was glad I did.  The food provided was plentiful and filling.  I think everyone in the course elected for the food plan, which made things run very smoothly as meal breaks were short.  

I was really surprised at the extent of material covered in this course.  It went way beyond the old “pack it in, pack it out” rule I had as a boy scout.  The fact is, over the years, the Boy Scouts and other wilderness protection groups and agencies haven’t gotten along that well.  Far too many scouts and leaders don’t understand how to be responsible in the outdoors.  We saw it firsthand a little over a year ago when some leaders destroyed rock formations in Goblin Valley, and it seems every year we hear of a forest fire started by some careless scouts.  Leave No Trace teaches valuable lessons that every person that goes out to enjoy the outdoors needs to know and use. 

My course had a great staff that were very enthusiastic about the material they were teaching.  There were lots of material to cover and they made it fun and enjoyable to be there.  I learned a lot of things I didn’t know before, but I also learned ways that I could take that back to the scouts in my unit and teach them these principles.  After all, that is the point of this course, not just to teach me the material, but to enable me to teach others, and it did that very well I thought.  

LNTLeave No Trace is not a scout program.  It’s a national program whose aim to educate people on how to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly, one that the Boy Scouts of America wholeheartedly supports.  Going into the outdoors is an integral part of the scouting experience.  It only makes sense that scouts (and leaders) should know how to do it in a way that preserves the outdoors for others to enjoy.  This training program aims to do just that.   

The next Leave No Trace Trainers Course is scheduled for April 10th and April 11th at Camp Maple Dell, Payson, Utah. For more information or to register go to

There is a second course scheduled on 5/15/2015 at Quail Creek Scout Camp in Hurricane, UT. For more information or to register go to

Jake Smith Pic
Author: Jake Smith | Scoutmaster of Troop 1331, Orem District. 

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