Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Leave No Trace Flier No 21-105 (part 1)
Leave No Trace Flier No 21-105 (part 1)
JUDY @ SCCC * Judy Johnson
Fri, 9 Oct 1998 19:10:00 -0800
Date: October 2, 1998
From: Dave Bates, Director Boy Scout Camping & Conservation, Boy Scout
Leave No Trace is a new conservation emphasis of the Boy Scouts of America.
It can be applied to all outdoor activities, but especially to activities
that take place in backcountry or wilderness areas. The Leave No Trace
emphasis has also been adopted by the United States Forest Service, the
National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the
Bureau of Land Management. Some state agencies have also adopted it, and
we expect more of them will adopt it in the future.
Please note that there are both Scout and Scouter requirements to earn the
Leave No Trace patch, No. 8630, depicted on the back page of this flier.
The Leave No Trace patches are available from Supply Division. Additional
copies of the Leave No Trace flier may be ordered from Bin Resource in lots
of 25 (phone 972-580-2080). If larger quantities are needed, councils are
requested to reproduce this flier locally.
Leave No Trace can be introduced at a roundtable, camporee, Order of the
Arrow gathering, summer camp, or other suitable council or district
function. Units that have been trained in Leave No Trace may have an
easier time getting permits to camp or trek on public lands.
The principles of Leave No Trace for outdoor adventures
The Principles of Leave No Trace
The BSA is committed to Leave No Trace, which is a nationally recognized
outdoor skills and ethics awareness program. Its principles are guidelines
to follow at all times.
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
Instilling values in young people and preparing them to make ethical
choices throughout their lifetime is the mission of the Boy Scouts of
America. Leave No Trace helps reinforce that mission, and reminds us to
respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future
generations. Appreciation for our natural environment and a knowledge of
the interrelationships of nature bolster our respect and reverence toward
the environment and 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 visitor. 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
Learn More About Leave No Trace
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 Leave No Trace toll free at 800-332-4100 or on the Internet at
For posters, plastic cards listing the Leave No Trace principles, or
information on becoming a Leave No Trace sponsor, contact Leave No Trace
Inc., P.O. Box 997, Boulder, CO 80306; phone 303-442-8222.
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
Proper trip planning and preparation helps hikers and campers accomplish
trip goals safely and enjoyably while minimizing damage to natural and
cultural resources. Campers who plan ahead can avoid unexpected
situations, and minimize their impact by complying with area regulations
such as observing limitations on group size.
Proper planning ensures
* Low risk adventures because campers obtained information concerning
geography and weather and prepared accordingly
* Properly located campsites because campers allotted enough time to reach
* Appropriate campfires and minimal trash because of careful meal planning
and food repackaging and proper equipment
* Comfortable and fun camping and hiking experiences because the outing
matches the skill level of the participants
2. Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces
Damage to land occurs when visitors trample vegetation or communities of
organisms beyond recovery. The resulting barren areas develop into
undesireable trails, campsites, and soil erosion.
Concentrate Activity, or Spread Out?
* In high-use areas, campers should concentrate their activities where
vegetation is already absent. Minimize resource damage by using existing
trails and selecting designated or existing campsites.
* In more remote, less-traveled areas, campers should generally spread out.
When hiking, take different paths to avoid creating new trails that cause
erosion. When camping, disperse tents and cooking activities -- move camp
daily to avoid creating permanent-looking campsites. Always choose the
most durable surfaces available: rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow.
These guidelines apply to most alpine settings and may be different for
other areas, such as deserts. Learn the Leave No Trace techniques for your
crew's specific activity or destination. Check with land managers to be
sure of the proper technique.
3. Pack It In, Pack It Out
This simple yet effective saying motivates backcountry visitors to take
their trash home with them. It makes sense to carry out of the backcountry
the extra materials taken there by your group or others. Minimize the need
to pack out food scraps by carefully planning meals. Accept the challenge
of packing out everything you bring.
Backcountry users create body waste and wastewater that require proper
Wastewater. Help prevent contamination of natural water sources: After
straining food particles, properly dispose of dishwater by dispersing at
least 200 feet (about 80 to 100 strides for a youth from springs, streams,
and lakes. Use biodegradable soap 200 feet or more from any water source.
Human Waste. Proper human waste disposal helps prevent the spread of
disease and exposure to others. Catholes 6 to 8 inches deep and 200 feet
from water, trails, and campsites are often the easiest and most practical
way to dispose of feces.
4. Leave What You Find
Allow others a sense of discovery. Leave rocks, plants, animals,
archaeological artifacts, and other objects as you find them. It may be
illegal to remove artifacts.
Minimize Site Alterations
Do not dig tent trenches or build lean-tos, tables, or chairs. Never
hammer nails into trees, hack at trees with hatchets or saws, or damage
bark and roots by tying horses to trees for extended periods. Replace
surface rocks or twigs that you cleared from the campsite. Oh high-impact
sites, clean the area and dismantle inappropriate user-built facilities
such as multiple fire rings and log seats or tables.
Good campsites are found, not made. Avoid altering a site, digging
trenches, or building structures.
5. Minimize Campfire Use
Some people would not think of camping without a campfire. Yet the
naturalness of many areas has been degraded by overuse of fires and
increasing demand for firewood.
Lightweight camp stoves make low-impact camping possible by encouraging a
shift away from fires. Stoves are fast, eliminate the need for firewood,
and make cleanup after meals easier. After dinner, enjoy a candle lantern
instead of a fire.
If you build a fire, the most important consideration is the potential for
resource damage. Whenever possible, use an existing campfire ring in a
well-placed campsite. Choose not to have a fire in areas where wood is
scarce -- at higher elevations, in heavily used areas with a limited wood
supply, or in desert settings.
True Leave No Trace fires are small. Use dead and downed wood no larger
than an adult's wrist. When possible, burn all wood to ash and remove all
unburned trash and food from the fire ring. If a site has two or more fire
rings, you may dismantle all but one and scatter the materials in the
surrounding area. Be certain all wood and campfire debris is dead out.
6. Respect Wildlife
Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. considerate
campers practice these safety methods:
* Observe wildlife from afar to avoid disturbing them
* Give animals a wide berth, especially during breeding, nesting, and
* Store food securely and keep garbage and food scraps away from animals so
they will not acquire bad habits. Help keep wildlife wild.
You are too close if an animal alters its normal activities.
7. Respect Others
* Travel and camp in small groups (no more than the group size prescribed
by land managers)
* Keep the noise down and leave their radios, tape players, and pets at
* Select campsites away from other groups to help preserve their solitude.
* Always travel and camp quietly to avoid disturbing other visitors.
* Make sure the colors of their clothing and gear blend with the
* Respect private property and leave gates (open or closed) as found.
Be considerate of other campers and respect their privacy.
Senior District Executive
Mene Oto District
Santa Clara County Council, Inc.
Boy Scouts of America
(408)280-5088 Ext. 21