Learn from the Handbook: Boy Scouts and Leave No Trace

Subaru_tt With millions of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers heading to national parks, state parks, and other public land each year, there's bound to be some irreversible harm done to nature.

But the point of Leave No Trace is to minimize that harm. The organization, whose Web site is available here, travels the country to educate Scouts and Scouters about the best ways to enjoy the outdoors without abusing it.

Cracker Barrel heard a presentation from two LNT Traveling Trainers at a conference at Philmont last week. The presenters told us that the BSA spends a combined 30 million days outside each year. That's a lot of impact!

And even though your unit may be practicing responsible use, other units aren't so courteous, we were told. Here are four common complaints LNT hears about Scouting units:

  • The kids are out of control.
  • Units make too much noise.
  • Groups are too large.
  • Scouts exhibit poor camping skills.

So what can be done to get back on the right track? Start with Chapter 7 of the new Boy Scout Handbook. The chapter, which starts on page 244, discusses the principles of Leave No Trace and how boys can implement them in their troop. The BSA has taken a proactive approach to the program, making Leave No Trace a requirement for Second Class and First Class.

Looking to do even more? You can ask the LNT Traveling Trainers to make a visit to your crew, troop, or pack meeting. If they have time and are in the area, they'll stop by for free to give a presentation. Just click here for details.

Chime In: What is your unit doing to minimize its impact on the planet? How can you be doing better?

About Bryan Wendell 3161 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.