Robert Baden Powell
Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the scout movement

As you may or may not have known, yesterday was Survival 101 day, and I didn’t post anything. So, today, I will be posting Survival 101!

Ever heard the quotes “When you leave (the camp), leave nothing but your thanks and a good name.” and “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate.”? Those were quotes said by Robert Baden-Powell, who is the founder of the scout movement.

In the scouting movement, and probably in your campsite’s rules, there is a rule called Leave No Traces. And it is not only in for the Canadian scouts but for scouts all over the world. The Leave No Traces has seven principles, and I will be telling you all of them.

Plan Ahead And Be Prepared 

You should know your camp. Know the regulations of the camp. Can you make fires? Always be prepared for the weather, hazards, injuries everything! You should also always be prepared for the weather, hazards, and emergencies that might happen. “Be prepared” is not the scout’s motto for no reason. Pick up after you! If every person that has gone camping in a national park left waste, the animals would have been dead by now. Imagine a campground as a hotel. You need to know when you will check in, and when you check out, right? Then, you should know the same for your camping trip.

Travel and Camp on Though Surfaces

Stay on trails, if possible. The more you walk in the forest, the more you injure plants. Camp in designed areas. If there are none, then try finding an opening with dried grass, rock, gravel or snow. If you found a good campsite, then do not alter it unless your life depends on it. Protect the bank of a river or lake by camping at least 70 meters (230 feet) from lakes and streams.  If you have big groups, divide them into smaller groups. Camp at least 100 meters (328 feet) apart.

Pack Away Your Waste

Rock Creek, Red Lodge, Montana

Treat a campsite like someone’s home, because that’s what it is. Do not litter, as it might poison the animals. Pack away your leftovers safely. You don’t want bears or skunks, do you? Do not wash you, your clothes, or your dishes in bodies of water. You can wash dishes and yourself by carrying water and using small amounts of bio soap. Dispose of solid human waste in holes at least 15-20 (5-7 inches) centimeters deep and 70 meters away from everything. Don’t forget to cover it up after and to pack away toilet paper. Use a camping toilet if possible.


Leave What You Find

Take only pictures and do not touch; you help preserve the past. Leave rocks, plants and other objects as you find them, and that includes no cutting down plants without a permit. Do not build houses and other structures in forests without authorization. Don’t dig trenches around your camp, and don’t dig holes unless you use it for waste.

Limit Campfire Impact

A beautiful fire near Red Lodge, Montana

If you can, cook with a camp stove and use a lantern or flashlight for light. What better way to minimize the impact than to remove a possible source? Light fires in fire pits or in designed area. Make sure to check the wind, and the surroundings before building your own. Keep your fires small and make sure to put out your campfires completely. After putting it out, scatter the ashes in nature.

Respect Wildlife

Why do humans deserve more respect than animals? They don’t. Make sure to observe the animals from far away. In some national parks, approaching on foot within 91 m (300 feet) of bears or within 23 meters (69 feet) of other wildlife is prohibited. Never feed animals. In the first place, you had to break the first rule in order to feed them. Then, wildlife is called wild life for a reason; THEY ARE WILD. Control your pets; they could get hurt, or they could hurt other animals. You can leave them at home.

Be Considerate of Others

As in every place, you need to respect other visitors and be courteous. Yield to other respectpeople on the trail. Even though you are in the middle of the forest, good manners still apply. Camp away from the trail and other visitors, but remember the 2nd principle! Avoid loud noises and voices. You can get that in the city, no need to go into the forest!




Respect picture credit, Nick Youngson – link to

Buffalo, river and fire pictures credit: TheScoutGirl. You are free to use the pictures with email permission.

Baden Powell picture credit: Wikimedia. Free to use. 

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