LNT for Everyone

I was up at my local Ranger station up in Sandy to buy new maps of the Mt. Hood area.  While I was up there I got into a great discussion with one of the Rangers about Scouts, nope it JeffPionnerdidn’t have anything to do with policy changes it was about Leave No Trace.
The Ranger asked how much camping our Troop does up on Mt. Hood and in the wilderness areas up there.  I shared with him some of the great treks we have taken and all of the places that we frequent up on the mountain and the surrounding wilderness.  He told me that was great, but he was concerned.
I asked him what his concerns were and he quickly stated that “Typically he has trouble with Scout Troops camping up on Hood”.  I asked him how so.  The Ranger went on to explain the noise, the trash left, and the fact that they don’t practice leave no trace.  I told him that I was sorry to hear that and assured him that our Troop was not like that at all.  He went on to explain that it was not backpackers he was concerned about.. it was the car campers.  Troops that go up to the big camp grounds and pull in and camp.  “They are terrible in most cases” he said.
Now, I am not sharing this to promote backpacking, nor am I pointing the finger at those of you that do the car camping thing… I am sharing this because when we as Scouts do not practice Leave no trace.. it hurts all of us.  To this Ranger, pretty much all Scout units are the same.  And we have a bad reputation within their office.
Leave no trace is for all of us.  There are Front Country methods for those of you that car camp and there are back country methods for those of us that backpack.  USE THEM.  They need to be taught and practiced in every unit or we will no longer be welcomed in the areas we like to camp.
I am sure that this is not an isolated issue here.  I have seen units at Summer camp that drive me nuts the way they act and treat our out doors.  I blame the adults that allow it and fail to teach Leave no trace to their Scouts.  Yep.. I said blame.  If the shoe fits.. slip it on.. but remember that Leave no trace is for everyone.
Teach it.. Practice it… don’t screw it up for the rest of us.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. Amen – One of the key points of scouting is not just to get boys outdoors, but to teach them how to respect their surroundings and live in harmony with them… not to disturb others, or be poor camping neighbors. I have tried to teach my Cubs from day 1 when camping to be good neighbors, we always police our area and work to leave it better then when we got there… If there are scouts out there who don’t do this, then they are not scouts in my book – they are not following the OUTDOOR CODE, or the LNT principles of scouting! Thanks for the post!


  2. It’s not just your neck of the woods, Jerry. Across the country, scouts have a bad rep with land managers. Since scouts spend more people days in the outdoors than any other group, we have lots of opportunity to make an impression – and 1 bad impression overshadows 1,000 good ones.
    There are lots of ways to increase LNT awareness and practice among scouts in your area – ask the LNT Traveling Trainers to stop in PDX, set up an LNT Awareness workshop by an LNT Trainer, or get some folks to complete an LNT Trainer course put on by an LNT Master Educator. There is also a BSA LNT 101 workshop that anyone can use (see http://outdoorethics-bsa.org)


    1. Thanks, great points all… I went to the LNT Trainer and master course. Great training. Our troop does a great job of practicing the principles of LNT. My point in this post was to share how we as an organization is perceived by the Rangers. I was shocked to hear his comments.


  3. Last night, our PLC had dinner at a 5Guys hamburger restaurant during our training/planning retreat. (It’s a treat after a long day.) 10 boys, 3 adults. As we left, the manager approached an ASM and thanked him, and told him we were welcome any time. The manager had been nervous when the crowd of boys (in uniform) came in. He was afraid they’d make a big mess, be loud and rude to other customers. But they were pleasant, polite, and cleaned up their table completely. (The adults sat at a different table.) I was not surprised though, as we get comments like that often, the previous time being at Kartchner Caverns in AZ.

    I suppose in a way this supports the original post… People are surprised when our boys are good? If so that makes me sad.


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