Re: an item from rec.backcountry
Bob Washburn (whiterabbit@IW.EDWPUB.COM)
Fri, 19 Dec 1997 08:54:24 -0600
This is a very real perception. Scout bashing appears occasionally
(regularly?) in the rec.backpacking newsgroup. A significant number of the
users of that newsgroup are "leave no trace" purists. That should not be
taken as a negative comment. It is an ethic they some believe in and
practice. It is an ethic that while in the Scout manual is frequently not
followed by Scout groups either through indifference or more frequently
lack of training.
Scouting has historically been an organization that takes large groups of
boys into the woods in several vehicles, where they set up large tents in
an organized fashion, build fire rings, wood yards, maintain multiple fires
20 hours per day, lash camp devices, create substantial amounts of trash,
run and yell through the woods. A the end we take everything down, put it
back in the vehicles, police the area of trash and haul the trash bags to
the nearest dumpster. This is a great experience for boys and if done
properly and in an APPROPRIATE location can be consistent with the
The problem comes when Scouts who are used to Scout camps and large troop
camps go into backcountry and wilderness areas. Unless properly trained
and led, the Scout Reservation practices carry into these areas. I have
run across Scout groups in backcountry areas who were doing it right. I
have also met groups who were not trained or equipped to leave the area as
they found it. They disturb other users and leave signs of their presence
deeply embedded in the area. Unfortunately the a single poor group makes a
greater and more lasting impression than ten groups doing it right.
IMO this is an area where we should do a better job of training leaders. I
have been to training where I was told "leave not trace" means picking up
your trash when you get through. I've often wondered what would happen if
we called the local Sierra Club, told them we were planning to take a group
into the backcountry, and did they have someone who could help teach the
At 06:21 PM 12/18/97 -0500, R.F.Locke wrote:
>I thought some outdoor enthusiast Scouts-L'ers might findthe following
>interesting. I found this in a recent posting to rec.backcountry Usenet
>The following was posted by a Scout Leader soliciting information-
>--In article <XXXX> wrote:
>-->In July 98 my fellow scout leaders and I are taking 12 scouts to
>canada ( north
>-->bay ontario) on a 10 day canoe trip ( OH BOY).We are in need of any
>-->that sell dehydrated food in bulk and at wholesale prices . At one
>time i had
>-->an address of Chuck Wagon foods in N.J. but as i do often, lost it.
>-->all help will make this trip one the scouts will never forget. Please
>-->XXXX Or leave a phone # so that i can call . Thanks XXXX
>To which another poster replied -
>--Would you be sure to leave *all* hatchets, axes, and saws behind? I
>--there is ample wood up there that doesn't need to be cut.
>--I have traveled extensively in the boundary waters and quetico and am
>--seeing choped up trees, something the scours are notorious for.
>So, my question is: Is this a common perception of Boy Scout outdoor
>ethics? If so why? If not, why do we get the bad press?
>Opinions solicited, references not required.
>Advisor Post 486
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Troop 30 Edwardsville Illinois
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City