Leave No Trace Master Educator’s Class

During the week of Sept 11-15 I attended a Leave No Trace Master Educator’s Class sponsored by Adirondack Mountain Club  and the Appalachian Mountain Club. On the course we furthered our understanding and practicing of the Leave No Trace skills and techniques, developed our outdoor teaching and education skills, explored our Wild land Ethic, created an action plan and participated in all group activities. A central component of the course was for us to practice our teaching skills among peers. Each of us taught one of the 7 LNT principles to the rest of the group. The seven LNT Principles are:
* Plan ahead and Prepare
* Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
* Dispose of Waste Properly
* Leave What You Find
* Minimize Campfire Impacts
* Respect Wildlife
* Be Considerate of Other Visitors

The 1st day of the class was taught at the Adirondack Loj and included a lot of logistics, overviews, and organization. Monday night we distributed food and packed. Tuesday morning we headed out in the Pharoh Lakes area for a 3 night/4 day trip. We taught principles as the trip progressed. We had cool rainy days through out the trip. The last night of the trip we practiced camping in a pristine area – leaving no impact of our presence.
I was really happy to complete the class as it was the 1st time I packed any weight since my latest hip replacement and my backpack was substantial. We only hiked 4 miles a day due to the class schedule and I relied on my trekking poles, but regardless I was happy to be able to backpack again. Because I am not affiliated with an outdoor agency to carry insurance I am limited on being able to lead other LNT classes (Masters or Trainers), but I am hopeful of being able to co-lead, or do an awareness workshop with fellow campers (e.g. WinterCampers.com)

While we aware of increasing outdoor visitation and usage in the 1980’s and 1990’s in fact National Parks have recorded fewer outdoor visits since 9/11. The cause is not yet determined (air travel restrictions, economy?)

Biodegradable soap only works on land. It does not biodegrade in a water source. (There might be a biology or chemistry teacher that could elaborate on this for us.)

As a group we were religious about using hand sanitizer (e.g. Purell) after any toiletry and before any food handling.

All shared group food (i.e. gorp, carrots, and munchies) was poured into hands or containers. No one ever reached into a bag for food, thus reducing the potential for transmitting germs.

I carried my plate and silverware in a large ziploc bag but was advised to store my cooking or eating utensils in a breathable ditty bag to cut down on the proliferation of germs and anaerobic bacteria. This is especially important for multi-day trips.

Mosquito netting makes a good water strainer/filter for capturing food particles from dish water. It makes a larger target than a skimmer net would. One person can hold the strainer while the other pours the dirty water through it distributing the water over a large area.

We usually saved a whole or half a bagel for the end of the meal to wipe our plates and bowls. Cooking water was “swilled” by the hearty. I found it to be palatable mixed with hot cocoa.

Colored Ziploc plastic bags make it easier/more acceptable for people to pack out toilet paper and feminine products than clear bags would. I purchased a case from www.Uline.com (along with my emergency Tyvek coveralls). I will be distributing some of these bags to participants on future WinterCampers.com trips.


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