California Scout camp Leaves No Trace with new sustainable eco-cabins


It was hard for our ancestors to Leave No Trace when building a cabin. After all, the key ingredient in constructing a log cabin was, well, logs. And that meant chopping down a few dozen trees.

But it's the 21st century now, and modern technology has presented us with new ways minimize the environmental impact of these structures.

That was the message at California's Camp Emerald Bay last month. Gensler, a global architecture firm, created a first-of-its kind eco-cabin for this 85-year-old Catalina Island camp. And the best part? Gensler worked on the project for free.

The cabin was created by bolting together two 20-foot shipping containers. The resulting space is 320 square feet, and there's a translucent roof overhead that allows natural light to come in during the day. At night, LED lights keep the inside illuminated while reducing energy consumption. 

Nearby solar panels provide all the energy the eco-cabin will ever need. And it doesn't stop there. Head out to the front porch (see below) and notice that it was built entirely out of reclaimed wood.

What's next? Nineteen more eco-cabins are being built for Emerald Bay to replace the camp's aging barracks. Later, a large outdoor learning center will be constructed from shipping containers.

Let's hand it to Camp Emerald Bay for doing its part to Leave No Trace.


About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.