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364 LNT - Leave What You Find 2011-03-21

campfire made from structural stones

As a Boy Scout in the 60s I distinctly remember making camp on overnight trips. We would choose onlythe most pristine areas for a camp, preferably adjacent to a creek. We then searched for the softest ground to pitch our tents, removed every rock and branch from the area, pitched the tent, and then dug a trench around the tent. With the tent set, we built a fire ring and gathered wood, chopping on every standing tree in the area. We liked to yell, "timber". Soon we were working on a cooking shelter/lean-to made from small trees and limbs. "Timber!" We dug a hole for a latrine and built a special seat above the latrine out of wood. "Timber!" We tried to build furniture. "Timber!" The green wood did not burn well so we had to put Coleman fuel on the fire. Any trash (bottles, cans, tin foil, leftovers, etc.) was thrown in the fire. By the time we broke camp, the pristine area looked like a war zone.

A lot has changed from the camping trips of yore and it is all for the good. Outdoor ethics now teach us to Leave No Trace. Principle Four of Leave No Trace is to Leave What You Find. A key statement to the principle is "good campsites are found not made." Good campers following the Leave No Trace principles try not to disturb the area.

The Leave What You Find principle avoids altering campsites and damaging plants and trees, and leaves all natural and manmade artifacts as they are found.

A few Leave What You Find tips ...

The Boy Scouts have changed, thank goodness!

Spend more time looking for a campsite rather than altering one to meet your site requirements.

If you are concerned with water entering your tent through the floor, do not set the tent in low lying areas.

Consider not having a fire.

Never cut, chop, or saw standing trees. Saying "timber" is really not that big of a thrill.

If you remove limbs, rocks, etc to make a space for you tent, replace the natural features when you leave restoring the tent site.

Leave the camping area better than you found it.

Never drive nails into a tree or carve initials.

Take pictures of flowers instead of picking them.

Cultural artifacts are protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.

Leave what you find for others to also discover.

Happy findings trails

Leave No Trace


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