I’ve long practiced, as a Scout Leader, the idea of leaving your camp group cleaner than when you found it. Cathole, Front Country, Microtrash and dispersed meadow crossing, dispersed wood gathering, Hard Surface Camping, Fire Insulation and Bear Bags were concepts and terms new to this old time Scouter. These terms and simple ideas on how to reduce our impact, during our outdoor adventures, were all part of the Salt Lake Council’s Outdoor Ethics – Leave No Trace training.
Our mountains, canyons and deserts ,once visited infrequently, are welcoming millions of visitors every year. The increase in visitors is having a dramatic affect on the ability of these natural wonders to recover between visits. Outdoor Ethics expects and requires that we, the guardians of these natural resources, take an active role in creating outdoor experiences with less impact. Seven guiding principals can help us “think before we go” so that we can help maintain nature’s natural beauty.
- Plan ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly (pack it in, pack it out)
- Leave what you Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
I’ve experienced Microtrash at every camp I’ve ever been on; Those little end pieces that are created when you tear open a larger bag or the biggest culprit; individual candy wrappers. At our successful Klondike camp many of us had to spend time picking up Microtrash thoughout the campsite where over 600 Scouts and Leaders had been camping and participating in the event. There are easy solutions to this Scouting trash problem. First, is train the Scouts and Leaders to be aware of the Microtrash and depose of it properly, Second, is for each group to clean their area and help clean common areas of these little trouble makers (trash, not boys J) and finally think about not allowing wrappers to join the trip. Boys, candy and camps just go together so a dictatorial ban probably won’t be successful. However, taking a night to train boys to de-wrap their candies before they come to camp can be fun and prevent much of the Microtrash pain. Candies in a zip lock bag are protected yet don’t have the Microtrash sidekick.
Beginning at the September 2015 Basic Training, the Western Skies Training Staff will offer a 3 hour Leave No Trace Guide Course. Come and learn about the fun ways we, as Scouters, can help reduce our impact on our natural resources.
J. Bradley Simons, District Training Chairman