Boy Scouts of America Recognizes National Recreation and Parks Month; Offers Tips for Preservation
Largest Youth Service Organization Joins Salute to Employees, Volunteers Who Maintain and Provide Programming
Since its inception in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has been among the
largest and most consistent user groups of national parks, forests, wetlands,
mountains, and other outdoor recreation areas. In honor of this rich heritage,
during the month of July, the BSA is proud to recognize National Recreation
and Parks Month, encouraging all Americans to use the resources of national
parks as well as local parks and recreation departments, while preserving
these great natural resources of land, parks, and wildlife.
During National Recreation and Parks Month, recreation facilities and parks
throughout the United States will begin summer programming, call for volunteers,
and emphasize the importance of participating in physical activity and the
benefits of the outdoors.
"The BSA has always strived to be a good steward of our country's natural
resources and ecosystem," said Ed Woodlock, director of camping and conservation,
Boy Scout Division, BSA. "We believe national parks and forests as well as
local parks and recreation departments are indispensable sources of education
and activities. July is an opportunity to appreciate these resources and
encourage users to get active and 'Leave No Trace' when using them."
During July, the BSA encourages all Americans to adopt the Leave No Trace
principles for outdoor activities, particularly those in national parks and
recreation areas. Leave No Trace is a national, nonprofit education program
that promotes practical skills and an outdoor code of ethics that preserve
the integrity of protected lands and high-quality recreational experiences.
The principles allow users and managers of public and private lands to work
together to enjoy and protect the land, which will help ensure that a healthy
environment can be enjoyed for years to come.
The BSA's Leave No Trace principles include:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare—Know regulations and concerns
for the area. Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
Schedule activities to avoid high-use periods. Keep groups small.
Use a map and compass to eliminate the need for environmental
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces—Durable sites
include established trails, campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses,
or snow. Camp at least 200 feet from lakes or streams. Do not alter
sites to fit your needs—rather, find one that meets your needs.
Use existing trails and travel single file in groups on the middle
of the trail. In pristine areas, disperse use to prevent creation
of new trails or sites. Avoid places where impacts are new.
- Dispose of Waste Properly—If you bring it with you,
take it with you—this includes food and trash. Dispose of human
waste properly. Do not leave toilet paper or hygiene products behind.
Carry water used for cleaning dishes, equipment, or bathing at least
200 feet from its source to reduce contamination. Use small amounts
of biodegradable soap. Strain dishwater and scatter it around.
- Leave What You Find—Observe but do not touch cultural
or historic structures and artifacts. Leave rocks, plants, and
other natural objects as you find them. Avoid introducing or
transporting nonnative species of animals. Do not build structures
or furniture or dig trenches.
- Minimize Campfire Impacts—As campfires cause lasting
impact, use stoves for cooking and lanterns for light. Where permitted,
use a fire ring, fire pan, or a mound fire lay. Keep fires small—use
sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Remove partially
burned garbage, including that left by others. Burn all wood and coals
to ash, extinguish the fire completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Respect Wildlife—Observe wildlife from a distance—do
not follow or approach animals. Never feed animals. Protect wildlife
and your food by storing food and trash securely. Leave pets at home.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times such as mating and nesting
season, wintertime, or when they are with their young.
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors—Respect other visitors
and protect the quality of their experience. Be courteous—yield
to others on trails. Take breaks and set up camp away from trails and
other visitors. Let nature's sounds prevail—avoid loud voices
and noises. Respect others who might be seeking solitude.
In addition to adopting these principles during National Recreation and
Parks Month, the BSA also encourages Americans to contact their local parks
and recreation department for a list of available programs, outdoor activities,
and available parks and areas for recreation.
For more information on your local parks and recreation department
activities, please contact your local government information offices or
For more information on Leave No Trace and the Outdoor Code of the BSA,
please visit old.scouting.org.
Serving nearly 4.5 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age
with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories,
the Boy Scouts of America is the nation's foremost youth program of character
development and values-based leadership training. For more information on
the Boy Scouts of America, please visit old.scouting.org.