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LEAD Outdoors

AS A BOY SCOUT IN THE EARLY 1980s, Ben Lawhon helped police his troop’s campsite to make sure no trash had been left behind. He also dug trenches around his tent—a makeshift moat to keep his sleeping bag and gear dry. At the time, Lawhon (and presumably his troop leaders) didn’t recognize the discrepancy between the two customs. Now, as education director for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, he certainly does. Scouts and Scouters don’t ditch their tents these days—they know better. But many troops still use camping practices that run just as counter to Scouting’s conservation ethic. That’s why Lawhon and fellow Leave No Trace experts are working hard to increase awareness of Leave No Trace principles in Scouting. “We’ve made such great strides in the Boy Scouts over the past six or seven years and have really elevated the Leave No Trace program within Scouting,” Lawhon says. “But we still have a lot of work to do.” So do Scout leaders, especially those of us who learned camping techniques from our fathers many generations ago. “The youth pick it up and are on board immediately,” says Jeff Marion, Ph.D., a lifelong Scouter who studies how recreational use affects national parks and forests. “In many cases, the folks we’re trying to reach are the old-school leaders.”

Old school or not, any Scouter

can—and should—get up to speed by learning, practicing, and teaching Leave No Trace behaviors. Here’s how.

LEARN Leave No Trace Leave No Trace is not a slogan or a set of restrictive rules. Instead, it’s an ethic coupled with low-impact habits (see sidebar at right) that should be part of any outdoor experience, whether a hike in a city park or a backcountry expedition. The idea is simple: Leave the places where you recreate better than you found them by minimizing your impact on the environment. How exactly do you do that? The

best way to find out is by getting trained. Leave No Trace content is woven into the BSA’s core outdoor training programs, and many coun- cils offer general awareness courses in settings such as roundtable and summer camp. Beyond that, three levels of in-

depth training are available: BSA Leave No Trace 101 is a 3½-hour course that helps Scouts and adults at all program levels understand and apply Leave No Trace principles. The 16-hour, overnight BSA Leave No Trace Trainer Course prepares indi- viduals age 14 and older to serve as Leave No Trace trainers. Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts who complete this course are qualified to hold the Leave No Trace Trainer position in


PRINCIPLES 1. Plan ahead and prepare.

2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.

3. Dispose of waste properly. 4. Leave what you find. 5. Minimize campfire impact. 6. Respect wildlife.

7. Be considerate of other visitors.

 2012 ¿ SCOUTING


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