Take Nothing but Pictures, Leave Nothing but Footprints

As a Scout, it is common practice to leave no trace. As a member of the Scouting movement for ten years and counting, I have been able to abide by this philosophy, as well as teach the many methods of maintaining the environment to younger members of my Group. The concept of “Leave No Trace” is one where a Scout is expected to leave a public place in the same, if not better, condition than it was found in.

Leave No Trace is simple to follow and it creates a positive impact not just on the experiences of future visitors, but also on the preservation of the environment and its wildlife. When embarking on a camping trip in the wilderness, it is important to note that “good” campsites are found and not made. With this in mind, it should be understood that physically removing noticeable habitats, trees or other vegetation is unnecessary.

Once an appropriate campsite has been established, use a large bag to store all garbage that is produced. Any litter that is remaining on the campsite at the end of the trip should be identified and carried out. To reduce the amount of waste that you create, consider planning and packing an adequate amount of food rather than an overabundance. Your budget will thank you for this since food for camp can add up fast. By doing this, your backpack will be noticeably lighter and this will be helpful when hiking to and from the campsite.

During the trip, you may want to light a campfire, so be sure to remember safe fire practices to reduce damage to the environment. Always use a designated ring or pit if one is available to contain the fire, and clear the perimeter of any dry leaves or sticks.  When it comes to safety be sure to check that there are no flammable objects near the campfire or trees directly above that could potentially result in the fire getting out of control. Not to mention more unnecessary environmental damage.

At any point in your trip, if you witness any wildlife, do not approach, feed or follow it.  Instead take the time to observe and appreciate its beauty from a distance. Special care must be made to avoid wildlife during sensitive times such as mating and nesting season so as to prevent any accidents that could significantly affect its well-being.

By following these simple tips and sharing them with your fellow Scouts, you, and your Group can truly master the concept of Leave No Trace, as well as play a part in preserving the environment.


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