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Basementdweller

BSA and Backcountry Ethics

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Just got back from few days on the Appalachian Trail.

 

I have gained an interesting perspective regarding Boy Scouting and our use of public facilities.

 

I was looking for your thoughts on how you think the BSA is doing.

 

In a couple of days I will post what I saw and what the public had to say about us and what we were doing and how we are doing it.

 

From this experience I believe that the BSA needs to make some rules regarding this. It is a problem and now I understand why most of the people I meet really dislike boy scouts.

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I think that any group that regularly takes large groups of teenaged boys into the wild is going to end up with some issues regarding the public perception of the group.

 

If nine out of ten troops behave well, people will still remember the encounter that they have with the one group that didn't behave so well.

 

BSA does ask us all to follow Leave No Trace guidelines - these would seem to cover most of the situations that you might encounter. Not everyone does this, though.

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Yah, I agree with Oak Tree, but only to a point. I think we're probably closer to 50/50 in terms of good wilderness practice than we are to 90/10. All yeh have to do is look at da threads where many of us poo-poo LNT, or pick up any outdoor magazine where Boy Scouts are frequently mentioned as poor wilderness users by da folks who are in da wilderness most frequently. And of course, there have been quite a few high-profile cases of vandalism or poor skills on many public lands.

 

Beavah

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Rules? BSA needs MORE rules? Must we have a rule for everything, even common sense and courtesy in the outdoors?

 

I kinda have an issue with the public sometimes.. I recall one time we were in a large public campground and our neighbors complained about the boys being too loud... this was in the evening after dinner, not late at night or anything like that.. they were playing touch football.. I guess the sounds of kids laughing and playing was drowning out the sound from their satellite television...

 

We typically backpack now so this is much less of an issue...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have zero issue with their Leave no trace...there campsites were clean.

 

I have direct experience solo without my scouts in tow. I also had the advantage of the public not knowing I was a scout leader.

 

These were not the folks car camping at the koa, but folks who love the backcountry......None of their complaints were related to noisy boys.

 

 

The reason I say rules or guidelines because it is clear that the leadership whether youth or adult needed guidelines or rules to be better user of the back country.

 

 

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I would think that - in a way - BSA's rules are like a state's building code:

 

This is the minumum set of standards that you must follow to be in compliance'

 

There is nothing to say you cannot adopt better standards when camping. You could adopt and impliment better and stricter personal standrards of LNT and wilderness compatability.

 

No, not talking about advancement.

 

Say fo example you go camping, you make sure you pack out all trash, poop, and etc. You make sure you didn't dig a big ole fire pit and leave it either.

 

But what about taking all unused firewood and putting it back where you got it? Okay, that's not really a reality, but you could at least scatter the wood in a more natural placement as to not look like somebody actually collected it.

 

Maybe when you leave your campsite, you not only us e a rake to eliminate and footprints ( depressions) , but maybe take a tree branch, sagebrush broom or something naturally abundant and use it as natures broom.

 

Tyhink of being a runaway fellon trying to outwit a bounty hunter or tracker: Don't just leave no material trace...but leave no evidence that anybody could ever have been trhere>

 

And the thing is, this is something that might be better learned by the boys on each consecutive trip.

 

Of course, since I am in a Pack and not a troop...I am indeed talking out my butt! :)

 

With the pack trailer, dining tent, chairs galore ( the individuals, not the packs) mobile camp kitchen, etc.... We look like Cary Grant and his Harrem of cub scouts in the middle of a barren desert with a bunch of tents! :)

 

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Well let me give you an example.....

 

I was at a shelter before dark, making dinner when troop walked up and after a few minutes I was told to leave by the scout leader because they had more people and had planned on using the shelter. They had 15 people in their group. I asked to see his reservation.....oh wait all the shelters are first come first serve. At that point all three leaders were there telling me to leave.

 

 

Maybe I am not talking about rules, maybe a guide of ethics like Leave no trace.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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"Maybe I am not talking about rules, maybe a guide of ethics...."

 

Kinda thought that was covered in the Oath and Law?

Ea.

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No "rule" would have stopped that. Those people should know not to act like that regardless of being Scouts or not. It was simply rude and my 8 year old has been taught better.

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I was at a shelter before dark, making dinner when troop walked up and after a few minutes I was told to leave by the scout leader because they had more people and had planned on using the shelter. They had 15 people in their group. I asked to see his reservation.....oh wait all the shelters are first come first serve. At that point all three leaders were there telling me to leave.

 

Holy Smoke!

 

Yah, hmmm...

 

Don't know quite what to say to that, eh?

 

Probably worth a call or letter to the Chartered Organization and council.

 

Now, I confess, if I was solo and a big group of kids showed up and asked politely, I might voluntarily move. I don't mind being out without a fixed shelter, and I always figure that giving kids good experiences with the outdoors is an investment in da future of the nation's wild lands. But I don't think I'd take too well to being "told" to leave.

 

Beavah

 

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So Basement; is that it, or do you have a list of terrible experiences to share? That particular group would have been reported by me to their council when I got out, as they were not living to the standards of Scouting. Did you explain to them the facts of the situation, and they still were rude? Lot missing here.

 

Perhaps you missed an opportunity to improve the leaders' skills, and set an example to the scouts.

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Your kidding about the footprints right? I agree with leaving no trash and not taking anything but nature is not so fragile that we can't leave some firewood or move something. The earth was here long before us and will be here long after we are gone. Let me state again that I am not in favor of leaving trash or taking things but nature is not glass and if knowing that someone was there before you ruins it get over it.

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That's too bad that some Scouts asked you to leave the shelter, Beavah.

 

I like to think that, in a similar situation, I would have asked if I could have shared the shelter with you. I like to think that, if the situation had been reversed, that I would have sought you out to see if you wanted to use the (only?) shelter to cook in with us. I haven't been in that situation yet, though.

 

I wouldn't want some stranger pitching his tent in the middle of my Scouts tents, but cooking dinner is another story -- in an established camp site the cooking area shouldn't be right smack up against the tents anyway, there should at least be some separation, based on historic use of the camp site, etc., insert disclaimer here. ;)

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