Leave No Trace

Green kids — By on January 9, 2009 at 9:00 am
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Preparing for Leave No Trace outing

I’ve been a Cub Scout leader for the past two years.  What a great, tiring experience!  My scouts are in the 5th grade now, and about to cross over into Boy Scouts.  If you are at all familiar with the scouting program, you’ll know that camping, building fires, and hiking are among the top three activities.  Recently, the scouts in my den earned the “Leave No Trace” award.

The principles of Leave No Trace are straightforward and simple.  Even if your child is not in scouts, they can learn to care for and respect nature while they enjoy its beauty.  To earn the award, the scouts must learn and practice “front country” guidelines.  The front country includes your own backyard, parks, sidewalks, playgrounds and municipal trails.  In essence, areas in which you would may expect to see humans.

Leave No Trace Front Country Guidelines

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Stick to trails
  3. Manage your pet
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Respect other visitors
  6. Trash your trash

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Visiting the wilderness is an amazing experience, just be sure to Leave No Trace

When you are in the back country (the wilderness), the general rule of thumb is to take only pictures, and leave only footprints.  In cub scouts (children ages 11 and under), outings are generally only scheduled for the front country, for safety’s sake.

In September, I took my den to the Lava Cast Forest here in Central Oregon.  It was a beautiful early fall day, and the boys were thrilled to see the giant lava fields and the casts of trees that were encased in magma thousands of years ago when one of the local volcanoes exploded.

Most of the boys begged me for permission to take one little piece of lava rock home with them.  After all, the fields stretched for miles.  But, as I explained, if each visitor took one rock, what would be left over time?

We did take lots of photos – which was loads of fun!  We also took home some great memories and the pride of doing the right thing through the Leave No Trace program.

Next time you are out and about, consider the Leave No Trace guidelines.  Discuss them with your child, too.  Children as young as 3 can properly dispose of their trash and stick to trails.  Why not leave the place you visit as pristine for the next visitors as it was for you – if not better?

You’ll be a better global neighbor all around!

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  1. Yashni Marad says:

    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with

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