“Wilderness is a necessity…a fountain of life… thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people who are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
Plan Ahead and Prepare is the first principle of Leave no Trace.
Planning sets your trip up for success. A failure to plan well will lead to a trip that does not.
What I mean by that is simply that we need to plan for Leave no trace.
That is not to say that we can’t have fun. Rather it is to say that we need to consider the wilderness areas when we enter them.
We need to ask our selves how much trash do I need to produce?
How much impact on the ground are we going to leave?
Where is my waste going? How do I get it all in and out?
What are the goals of the trip?
When we ask ourselves these questions, we start to better understand leave no trace. Some people will have you believe that Leave no trace is a philosophy to to keep you out of the wilderness. That is the farthest from the Truth. Leave no trace is designed around impact and leaving wilderness areas so that we all can enjoy them for years and years to come.
So we start by planning for less impact.
We start by looking at the goals of the trip. When we enter wilderness area we need to be aware of the rules. Travel in smaller groups, spread out camp areas. For Scout units that can be challenging, but really cool too. You won’t be able to camp as a big troop in the wilderness, but what a fantastic opportunity for Patrols to camp together.
Which brings up meals. Planning our meals is perhaps that single biggest issue of impact. And that is all about trash. We generate trash with cooking. SO preparation is the name of that game.
Reduce trash by repackaging. Do not take wrappers, boxes and cans with you. Reduce the trash at home. Repackage your meals in ziplock bags or other resealable containers that can easily be carried out, used as litter bags, and take up less space.
Think about the meals you are cooking and what you need to do that. Canister stoves are efficient and allow for quick boil times for water. They are pretty light and take up less space. But you need to plan for the amount of fuel you will consume. This reduces impact and trash. And lightens the load in your pack. But you have to plan. Waste fuel and you will end up short.
Look at your tents, tarps, or what ever shelter you are planning on using. Free standing tents leave less impact. What color tent do you have. Hot pink in the wilderness takes away from other peoples enjoyment. Do you need to stake it down? If not..then don’t.
Where are you getting water? How much can you carry? Purifying or packing? These are planning questions that need to be considered.
So the bottom line is that Planning Ahead and Preparing for your next adventure is the first and most important part of a trip that leaves no trace. No matter where you go, or what your goals are, you should always keep in mind that there will be people coming to the wilderness after you and you want to give them the same opportunity to experience it’s pristine beauty as you are.
Plan and prepare.
Have a Great Scouting Day!