Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Gern, my backyard is quite a bit smaller than the caribou's, and the bear's. And since they were here first, they are always welcome.

My point is that the earth endures the strain of caribou migration and other natural occurrences surprisingly well.

To say the earth will be grievously harmed by eight scouts hiking on the earth's surface, or if a scout picks up a piece of deadwood "larger than his wrist" or if he sets up an orange dome tent--that's a stretch, to put it mildly.(This message has been edited by Desertrat77)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 86
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

This hooey about LNT banning colored tents has got to stop.


Here's what LNT actually says:


Bright clothing and equipment, such as tents can be seen for long distances are discouraged. Especially in open natural areas, colors such as day-glow yellow are disturbing and contribute to a crowded feeling; choose earth-toned colors (ie. browns and greens) to lessen visual impacts.


Think about it. Which would you prefer - to walk around a bend and see a clearing with fluorescent orange and Wal-Mart-tarp-color blue tents? Or a clearing with muted colors? Which would make you feel more like you were in the middle of a parking lot?


LNT is all about education: If you can take the less-destructive, less-intrusive, less-harmful option, do it. It's simple.


Beavah makes excellent points all around. LNT is a codification of everything that Scouting should be doing already, and what many have been doing for years. It brings together in a very simple format the practices that I first read about under the label "low-impact camping" in my BSH in 1991. It's easy to understand and comprehend. And it certainly isn't run by some sort of cabal of environmental extremists.


- A proud LNT Trainer

Link to post
Share on other sites

Proud Eagle, as a scout I camped and backpacked extensively in deserts of southern Arizona, and way off the beaten path in the birch forests and tundra of Alaska. I'm know first hand how delicate those ecosystems can be. Long before the cottage industry of LNT existed, we knew where to camp and where not to, and how to leave the earth unspoiled. We didn't need a seminar or certification to accomplish this. Instead, we had leaders that instilled the principles of respect for the outdoors, and they set the example themselves.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shortridge, the very fact that LNT presupposes the need to lecture folks on what color clothes they should wear or what color tent to own is mind numbing. I support each person's right to wear whatever the heck they want and to purchase and pitch whatever tent strikes their fancy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wear high-visibility colors in the woods. Safety orange is good, safety blue is better. Having been shot at a few times while hiking, I got smart and wear it year around. I want to see where my scouts and others are as well.


Only want earth-tone colors, then avoid spring meadows and autumn foliage.


The common sense parts of LNT were already common practices and even rules set the Park Service , etc.


Why buy LNT, when we already had it?


Another $0.02






Link to post
Share on other sites

'Cryptogam'???? Beavah, I have to thank you. This is the first time that I've read that word ever on Scouter.com and actually the first time I've seen it used by anyone in recent times except in a beginning botany course or something...and then just as part of history. Nice. It felt reeeaaaalllyy good. (You did apply it in a context I've also never seen.)


I see the LNT ethic as more practical and necessary in areas of greater intensity of use but I would like to see it everywhere. I also agree with Beavah about the desire to pretend to be one with the wilderness. I too have seen plenty of campsites and trails in this region cut to pieces by mountain bikes, horses (even worse), or denuded of low growing vegetation and even leaf litter and pockmarked with fire rings and piles of wood ash.

With respect to, "But from what I've been able to see so far, we did a better job of "leaving no trace" back before those words were invented." I remember well the ethic in which we cut living trees to create temporary shelters and other constructions for every campsite we visited. It was one part of pioneering or scoutcraft back then that I questioned as a scout but was taught as the correct way to conduct oneself in the wilderness. Today I'm strongly in support of the LNT approach, perhaps not in all its manifestations, but definitely in the intent.


But this isn't confined to the Eastern areas with close proximity to hordes of users. In the back country of Yellowstone I was also disappointed to see strings of horses and people in the back country being led by out-of-park outfitters in numbers way over the written limits. In some places the trails were cut to mush by these hooves making simple backpacking much less pleasurable and in some cases downright unpleasant. The campsites were littered with items that no backpacker I know would ever carry into these remote sites. And along the Pacific Crest Trial or elsewhere in the Cascades I've seen similar examples where LNT would have been a nice thing. So in my view, LNT would be a really nice thing to apply everywhere if people would actually do it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This whole aversion to the tent color guidelines to LNT just astounds me.


Lets look at from the extremes, you come over a rise to your favorite remote campsite, nestled in a small valley under majestic snow capped peaks. A stream meanders down the middle of the sub-alpine meadow where trees barely are able to grow but the tundra grass waves with the ebb and flow of the afternoon breeze. Smack in the middle of that meadow is a 20 ft circus tent, festooned with red and white stripes and a flag on top indicating the groups affiliation to a national movement. Would that degrade your wilderness experience?


Contrast that with coming over the rise and seeing a few small tents, muted to the natural colors of their surroundings.


LNT doesn't BAN circus tents, it simply recommends when making a tent purchase to consider muted, natural colors. Its about ethics and education and understanding your responsibilities not only to the environment, but to others who share that environment with you. How could anybody disagree with that?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gern, in that scenario, both would be cause enough for me to push on to another campsite. As far as the visuals, I agree that one blends in better than the other.


But I'm still not clear on how tent and clothing color impact the wilderness itself. It doesn't and I guess that's the rub. Many LNT tenets make sense and have been in practice for a long time. Others are personal preferences presented with a zeal that insinuates that anything less than 100 percent buy in makes you a Hater of The Earth. It just ain't so

Link to post
Share on other sites

desertrat, you've used some pretty extreme hyperbole in your accusations against the LNT brigades. Examples:


"To say the earth will be grievously harmed by eight scouts hiking on the earth's surface, or if a scout picks up a piece of deadwood "larger than his wrist" or if he sets up an orange dome tent--that's a stretch, to put it mildly."


"Others are personal preferences presented with a zeal that insinuates that anything less than 100 percent buy in makes you a Hater of The Earth. It just ain't so"


To you and others, first: Please read the LNT principles and details (http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php), with an open mind. Put aside everything you've heard from others, and just read for yourself. They're very reasonable, and nothing in there conflicts with anything Scouting does.


Do they conflict with our personal preferences? Perhaps. But being challenged is part of learning and the educational process.


Second: It's extremely important to note that LNT does not just apply to environmental issues. Most of the principles do, of course. But to argue against LNT on the grounds that it says orange dome tents will harm the environment is intellectually dishonest. That falls under the principle "Be Considerate of Other Visitors" - not under the heading of protecting the environment. Please don't engage in distortions to make your point.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I have to wonder, while on the topic of psychadelic orange tents versus camo tents, which is actually apt to harm somebody.


As scouts, we probabluy have a better than anybody else chane to be as least harfull as we can.


But what if one of the non scouting, tree hopping, dirt flinging idioys ona dune buggy of other ATV is flying through the woods. At least he will see the orange tent that could possibly have a scout in it, before he sees the camo one...if he even sees the camo tent before tearing through/ into it.


Maybe that bright orange, red, blue or white tent may make a deer or other anumal less likely to approach camp. Maybe enough to keep a coyote or bear away.


And at the very least, stands out if in front of the sights of a hunter's rifle ( including the illegal ones who don't stick inside particular areas or outside of others.


Now, truth be told, EVERYTHING we do impacts the natural environ ment. practice LNT all you want, you stillleave behind your scent and the scent of the food , supplies, cooking fuel, etc...behind.


Anuimals smell and sense this. They either will avod those areas or eventually no longer be afraid of us or our smell.


8 scouts camping over a weekend most likely has less impact on the evironment than a spring/fall migration weekend of elk, der. moose, etc.


But a whole Jambo in the forest would be havoc on the land that may take a couple yrs to mend.



But then as a firefighter, I have seen how destruction and new birth are partners hand in hand.


Sometimes, what looks like a beautiful forest, is actually a ecosystem on the brink of collapse. And whatappears to be disaster is actually just what the doctor orderd.


Forest fires do kill majestic trees, but also burn out the dead, diseased trees as wel as cull back dying, diseased and deformed animals, thus keeping only the healthy stock in the breeding pool.


Sometimes that medicine is from nature in the form of a ligfhtning strike. Sometimes a careless idiot with a smoking habit and no common sense.


You ever see an old fire pit with a tree growing out of it?


I have seen three at an older section of a camp we used to use. Turns out the dead wood colected by scouts makes a nice fertilizer when the ash left behind mixes with the dirt and is blended over time by rain. A pinecone, a seed spor or something else in the dirt or ashes suddenly begins a new life.


And out of the three, two were bigger than the surrounding trees and healthier looking too.


Footprints in the dirt often support the greenest grass by pooling and collecting what limited water there is in dry times.



Thew problem with LNT is the same problem with most things: Man tries to put specific parameters and limitations where nature and life discard them. We are trying to make absolutes in a world where absolutes cannot function.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shortridge, fair enough.


Hyperbole is the right word, though, to describe how some LNT faithful deliver their program. Disagree with a tenet, and one is lectured like a Tent Trencher, or a Bough Cutter.


Programs are great and can be helpful when solving any problem, be it wilderness preservation or reducing DUIs. But programs, and meetings, and checklists, and education, are only part of it. The key is instilling larger principles such as respect, responsibility and the like (essentially our oath and law). Building these values takes time and much effort. But they ensure a lasting solution.


(edited by desertrat77 to remove unhelpful rant)(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone who believes that governmental land managers base their decisions on science are more naive than I was 30 years ago. It simply is not so; management decisions are as much political as science based. Look at all the damage our USFS has caused by them selves in the west by not controlling understory fuel and tirelessly putting out every wildfire.


I believe in responsible use of our natural resources which include conservation and protection for future generations. I do not think LNT does that, at least not how it is described in BSA publications. I think LNT is too complex and carries too much baggage. Plan and prepare is just like the first 3-7 steps on Google directions, already covered elsewhere. Our Motto is Be Prepared! We now have folks that belong to the department of redundancy department! Plan and prepare, hogwash, just Be Prepared! The plan part is what we should, scratch that, what the youth should be doing weeks and months before any outing, with our supervision of course.


I believe that LNT as an ethic is flawed in that I do not agree with the underlying thought process or philosophy that humans are not part of the natural wild world. We are not just a part we are the master of it! The problem with our urine and feces is that we do not eat and drink properly. If we are properly hydrated our urine is clear and not as concentrated. BTW I've been told that we shall pee on rocks if there are goats or sheep in the area as these critters will paw the dirt to rock to get the salt out.


LNT on the surface seems like a great ethic. It is only once I read more about it that I started to disagree and dislike it. To be intellectually honest I take offense to it. For example "Leave what you find" It all sounds good until they add "antlers" "feathers" "and even antique bottles" because wait for it..... do not want to spoil it for others. Antlers shed annually. In the East, where we seem to have the most problems with over-use, save some "National Parks" which by the way might not be a problem is only white settlers would not have deforested nearly the entire eastern half (hatred for dead rich white guys). I digress antlers are shed each year and left alone rarely if ever make it beyond one year. Those not gathered become squirrel food. We have such an overpopulation of white tailed deer in some places (and Canadian geese too) that they are killed en mass on roadways. Feathers, well as long as they are not from a protected species, yeah whatever. "Antique bottles" you have got to be kidding! Can't have it both ways. Either evidence of our passing or use is not desirable or it is. If our ancestor's garbage piles belong then so does my buried toilet paper that breaks down quickly sure is not going to hurt.


"Campfire impacts" Ok in the nearby wilderness, much over used by folks from the greater Puget Sound region I might add, fires above 5000' elevation are prohibited. Well yeah, that is mostly above treeline so it makes sense. I see the need to be careful with fire however most wildfires are caused by lightning. We should be aware and follow burn bans after all a Scout is Obedient. Others have posted thoughts on fires that I can agree with.


As I said I am mostly surrounded by wild lands of several types. Most of which might be considered front country and some that is much overused alpine and sub alpine wilderness. I've seen the damage dirt bikers have caused. I've seen the damage campers have caused. I've witnessed the damage a running elk herd causes. I've seen where elk droppings are as thick as cultivated strawberries, and this has been on marginal soils, or more properly a rock pile. All in an area that the WA Wildlife Department says does not have as many elk as they want and the bull to cow ratio is also off. Around here the problem is not a few Boy Scout Troops. If you want to save trees perhaps we should educate all those bulls and bucks to stop thrashing trees prior to and during mating season. Oh yeah that is right nature destroying itself is ok. We are part of nature folks. It is natural for us to walk among the wild places gathering berries, roots, antlers for tools, feathers for bling, and otherwise consuming a resource. All in moderation of course, which granted is somewhat taught in LNT.


Our impact on the wild animals. Perhaps in wild places we should not fish either. I so hate it when I catch a mountain lake trout that has a healed scar from a fish hook. Perhaps we should refrain so that those 100's of years later can, if they so choose possibly view a trout that has never been caught. Oh so that is overboard? We can disturb fish but not birds and mammals. Yup, them goats will stalk you in the high places waiting for you to pee. I find that disturbing!


Good thing I purchased a tent of neutral colors as my parachute teepee of orange and white is too much for others to have to see. When I top a rise and see tents in the area I remember what it was like before crowds went the same places I go. Pack it in pack it out and give a hoot don't pollute still seem enough for me and our Scouts today. The pandering of LNT in an effort to not offend others fails in that it, and the way it is preached offends me! I'm more in line with KISS or the way Mr. Maclean in A river Runs Through It taught his children to write...."good now half as long" until it was short and to the point.


The greater principle of Leave No Trace I embrace. I think with some changes it might even be a good ethic, but we are a long way from that.


LNT source document http://www.bsajamboree.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/TeachingLeaveNoTrace.aspx(This message has been edited by BrotherhoodWWW)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, having said what I said...there is one great thing about LNT:

You ever see the warning labels on a hair dryer trhat tell you not to use it while taking a shower?

That label is there to prevent lawsuits by the idiots that WOULD use the hairdryer while in the shower. ANd it is there because somewhere, somebody did it!



Those fine folks need LNT exactly the way it is presented! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...