- Plan Ahead and Prepare: Poorly prepared people, when presented with unexpected situations, often resort to high-impact solutions that degrade the outdoors. Proper planning leads to less impact.
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Damage to land occurs when surface vegetation are trampled beyond repair. The resulting barren area leads to unusable trails, campsites and soil erosion.
- Dispose of Waste Properly: Though most trash and litter in the backcountry is not significant in terms of the long term ecological health of an area, it does rank high as an eyesore. Trash and litter can greatly detract from the naturalness of an area. Further, backcountry users create body waste and waste water which requires proper disposal.
- Leave What You Find: Leave No Trace directs people to minimize site alterations, such as digging tent trenches, hammering nails into trees, permanently clearing an area of rocks or twigs, and removing items.
- Minimize Campfire Impacts: Because the naturalness of many areas has been degraded by overuse of fires, Leave No Trace teaches to seek alternatives to fires or use low-impact fires.
- Respect Wildlife: Minimizing impact on wildlife and ecosystems.
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Following hiking etiquette and maintaining quiet allows visitors to go through the wilderness with minimal impact on other users.
The Leave No Trace principles might seem unimportant until you consider the combined effects of millions of outdoor visitors. One poorly located campsite or campfire may have little significance, but thousands of such instances seriously degrade the outdoor experience for all. Leaving no trace is everyone’s responsibility.
Leave No Trace Awareness
Leave No Trace helps reinforce the BSA mission of instilling values in young people and preparing them to make moral and ethical choices throughout their lifetime by reminding us to respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future generations. Appreciation for our natural environment bolsters our respect and reverence toward nature.
Leave No Trace is an awareness and an attitude rather than a set of rules. It applies in your backyard or local park as much as in the backcountry. We should all practice Leave No Trace in our thinking and actions–wherever we go.
We learn Leave No Trace by sharing the principles and then discovering how they can be applied. Leave No Trace instills an awareness that spurs questions like “What can we do to reduce our impact on the environment and on the experiences of other visitors?” Use your judgment and experience to tailor camping and hiking practices to the environment where the outing will occur. Forest, mountain, seashore, plains, freshwater, and wetland environments all require different minimum impact practices.
Help protect the backcountry by remembering that while you are there, you are a victory. When you visit a friend, you take care to leave your friend’s home just as you found it. You would never think of trampling garden flowers, chopping down trees in the yard, putting soap in the drinking water, or marking your name on the living room wall. When you visit the backcountry, the same courtesies apply. Leave everything just as you found it.
Hiking and camping without a trace are signs of an expert outdoorsman, and of a Scout or Scouter who cares for the environment. Travel lightly on the land.
Leave No Trace Training
The Boy Scouts of America is committed to implementing Leave No Trace at all levels of the program through Leave No Trace Trainer courses. These two-day trainings, taught by Master Educators in the outdoors, are designed to help participants better understand and teach Leave No Trace skills and ethics. Leave No Trace Trainer Course – October 18th (5 PM) to 19th (6 PM) 2013 at Camp Maple Dell, Payson, Utah registration link: http://www.utahscouts.org/event/1314718
Please promote this worthy activity to all within your circle of influence, especially at Roundtables and Wood Badge Courses..
Learn More About Leave No Trace
|For more information, see Teaching Leave No Trace—an excellent resource for teaching the Leave No Trace principles to Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers.|
More information about Leave No Trace can be obtained by contacting your local land manager or local office of the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, the National Park Service, or the Fish and Wildlife Service. (Check the blue pages of your local telephone directory.) Or, contact the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics toll-free at 800-332-4100 or on the Internet at http://www.lnt.org.
For posters, plastic cards listing the Leave No Trace principles, or information on becoming a Leave No Trace sponsor, contact Leave No Trace, P.O. Box 997, Boulder, CO 80306; phone303-442-8222 .