Response to Tim O'Leary
Bob Rosebrough, GBL, B-200 (rosebro@GGPL.ARSUSDA.GOV)
Fri, 30 Aug 1996 08:45:33 -0500
Tim O' Leary has brought up some excellent points that we should dwell upon
rather than beating the uniform issue to death for the umpteen millionth time.
My observation has been that our stewardship of the outdoors gets more lip
service than actual practice.
1. Campfires in the backcountry, and for that matter nearly every place we
use, should be a thing of the past. We are finding that even downed wood has a
place in the food chain (i.e. provides food for termites and carpenter ants whic
provide for other animals etc.). The natural decay process also releases
nutrients back to the biomass. Perhaps all should procure and read Colin
Fletcher's book "The New Complete Walker" to gain some insight into this whole
2. Groups of scouts should not exceed 9-10 at a particular campsite to
lessen the impact on the environment and to preserve the camping experiences of
3. Confine the amount of equipment taken on outings to that which is
absolutely necessary. Make every campout a "backpacking" campout. Bring only
your share of patrol equipment and personal supplies that can be carried in your
pack. This may mean no huge propane stoves or lanterns. A dining fly can be
taken without the poles and can be carefully strung to existing trees. The adde
bonus is that a patrol campsite can be put up and taken down in less than 30 min
This leaves more time for other activities.
4. The general recommendation has been that pioneering activities be
confined to Scout Camps only.
5. Use some common sense as to camp areas that are appropriate for young
adolescents. Clearly, backcountry campsites infested with very aggressive,
pan-handling bears are inappropriate. I fear that in our rush to conserve
wildlife we have humanized too many animal species (Smoky The Bear, The Lion
King, Charlie the Lonesome Cougar, Bambi etc.) to force a conservation ethic. W
will continue to experience dangerous encounters unless some of this misguided
information is quelled. The plain fact people is that wild animals can be
dangerous and unpredictable (this is part of animal survival - the predicatble
animal becomes prey). Wildlife should be appreciated, conserved and in some
cases managed because we are caretakers of the environment and not because of
some cuteness in the particular animal. To this end, it is probably not
appropriate to place youngsters in a position where we have to destroy some
human-habituated animal to protect those kids.
Asm Troop 601
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City