The Outdoor Code of the BSA should be enough…. Right? Well that is if we all lived it. The Leave No Trace principles lead us down a trail to being good stewards of the our wilderness. As Boy Scouts we should just be all of those things, but we all know that the wrong way is always the easiest.. and easy creates the path of least resistance. We get lazy and as a result we leave a trace.
Using the leave no trace principles from start to finish on every outing will ensure that we maintain the land we have and keep it in the best shape for those that come after us. Now I am not running out to join Green Peace, and I believe that “Global Warming” is a natural process will happen with or without man. But I also believe that we don’t have to push it. We can do this to minimize our footprint while enjoying the wilderness. There are those out there that would not allow anyone to step foot in the wilderness areas. This is extreme, especially when we can do things to reduce the impact. But it takes everyone, especially Scouts to practice it. Leave no Trace gives us that foundation to work from. It sets us up through the principles of planning and preparing, traveling on durable surfaces, setting camp on hard stands, looking at ways to reduce and dispose of waste, leaving what we find, minimizing campfire impact, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.
So why is Leave no Trace important? It all comes down to whether or not you enjoy the out doors. It comes down to an appreciation for what we have and wanting to keep it that way. I boils down to leaving it for the future. Unfortunately when God created man, in some he left out the common sense gene, in some he did not place the appreciation gene, and in some he gave it all. We Scouts know what right looks like, we have an appreciation for our wilderness areas and understand that we need to protect them for total selfish reasons… so we can enjoy them.
Practicing Leave No Trace is good stewardship and we must learn and do the principles to ensure our wilderness areas are there forever… or until the next ice age or what ever the next cycle of earth produces.