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Boy Scout Troop 274
(Avon, Connecticut)
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Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is a set of principles used not only in Boy Scouts, but in all facets of outdoor activities.  As the group’s website says, “The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all people, worldwide.”  While Boy Scouts has always promoted the principles of Leave No Trace, they are putting an increased emphasis on it with the creation of the position of Leave No Trace Trainer.  Leave No Trace has seven tenants.  In future Troop Meetings and on future campouts we’ll go more in-depth with them.  After each time a new tenant is taught to the Troop a write-up will be posted below.  Here are the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors 


Plan Ahead and Prepare

At a Troop meeting we learned more about LNT. Hopefully it was practiced at the numerous campouts the troop attended. I thought we could focus on the first aspect of LNT, Plan Ahead and Prepare.  While the name of the Principle gives one a pretty good idea of what you should do, here are a few pointers on how to practice it properly, originally stated on the official LNT website:

  1. Identify and record the goals (expectations) of your trip.
  2. Identify the skill and ability of trip participants.
  3. Select destinations that match your goals, skills, and abilities.
  4. Gain knowledge of the area you plan to visit from land managers, maps, and literature.
  5. Choose equipment and clothing for comfort, safety, and Leave No Trace qualities.
  6. Plan trip activities to match your goals, skills, and abilities.
  7. Evaluate your trip upon return note changes you will make next time.

Of course, several of those tips apply in the very initial stages of the planning process, like at a Patrol Leaders Council (PLC).  The one aspect of planning that always involves the whole troop is meal planning.  Here are some tips for that particular aspect of campouts:

  • Plan to avoid using campfires for cooking.  Although this method of cooking has been largely eclipsed by LNT friendly stoves, it never hurts to remember.
  • Plan one pot meals, like a stew.  Although it can be tempting to have multiple courses during a meal, especially at campouts where food is being graded, one pot meals are easier to clean and result in a decreased impact on the environment.
  • Remove food from commercial packaging and place it in sealable bags before your trip.  Not only does this decrease trash, if you precook the food and do this, food preparation is quicker.
  • When you Plan Ahead and Prepare, it not only makes your job easier, it helps protect the environment.  So always remember to camp with a plan Leave No Trace!