Activity Plan 2 for Travel and Camp On Durable Surfaces

Desert TrekExploring Campsite Selection

This activity will take about 45 minutes.

What Your Group Will Learn

After participating in this activity plan, which is designed to help participants learn about campsite selection, participants will be able to

Your group will use a sketch of a heavily used alpine area and one of a pristine desert area to help them decide the best location for setting up a campsite. The sketches will provide a focal point for questions and discussions.

Materials and Preparation

Materials

Preparation

Grabbing Your Group's Attention (5 minutes)

Distribute Scenario 1—Alpine Setting—Alpine Backcountry, and Scenario 2—Desert Setting—Desert Backcountry. Have participants compare the two drawings and share what they observe about the two scenes. In what ways are they similar? In what ways are they different? Explain that they will use these two drawings to make decisions about how to choose the best campsite in an area that has experienced heavy visitation and in an area that has experienced little or no visitation.

Steps for Teaching the Activity (30 minutes)

Scenario 1: Alpine Setting

1. Distribute Scenario 1—Alpine Setting Activity Sheet.

2. Divide the group into teams of three or four. Tell them that each group is part of a larger group on a trip to a primitive area. Before starting the activity, each group should determine the size of the larger group, keeping in mind that this wilderness area allows no more than 10 campers per group.

3. Distribute the tents (dots) to each group. Assume two people will share one tent: 10 backpackers 5 five tents (dots).

4. Review the directions for scenario 1 and have participants complete the activity.

A close review of the Background on the Principles of Leave No Trace is needed to effectively lead the following discussion.

Where would you advise your group to camp? Most people will choose an established campsite. Discussion should focus on choosing a site that will protect the land and help prevent new impact to the area.

Why is camping close to a lake or stream not an acceptable option? Discussion should focus on protection of riparian zones, the fragile, green area along the bank of the stream, on water contamination, and on scaring wildlife from approaching the stream for a drink. Also, sound carries across open bodies of water.

Rearrange the tents (dots) if the discussion causes participants to change their minds. Have participants explain the reasons for their changes. Summarize key points for heavily used areas.

Scenario 2: Desert Setting

Distribute Scenario 2—Desert Setting Activity Sheet. Repeat steps 2 through 4 listed under scenario 1.

A close review of the Background on the Principles of Leave No Trace is needed to effectively lead the following discussion.

What areas will your group select for a campsite? Most people will choose the most durable surfaces, such as flat rocks or sandy areas free of cryptobiotic soils. Discussion should focus on use of durable surfaces, on dispersal of activities, and on alternative routes to and from locations.

Rearrange the tents (dots) if the discussion causes participants to change their minds. Have participants explain the reasons for their changes. Summarize key points for pristine areas.

Wrapping Up the Activity (10 minutes)

Your campers have practiced how to select campsites that will preserve the naturalness of the outdoors for wildlife and visitors. How well have they learned their lesson?

Have participants imagine they are on a backcountry trip and their leader has selected a campsite 50 feet from a stream. Your group has learned about the criteria for proper campsite selection.

Given what they know:

Refer to the Background on the Principles of Leave No Trace for answers.

Congratulations on conducting a well-prepared meeting for your group!

Teaching Leave No Trace


BSA