Leave Rocks As You Find Them: Care for Public Lands

Hobart Bluff and view of Pilot Rock. KReynolds photo

Hobart Bluff and view of Pilot Rock. KReynolds photo

Recently, the leaders of a Boy Scout troop vandalized a park by toppling a rock formation in Utah’s Goblin State Park. It appears from their actions that they lacked an understanding of the stewardship ethics of our public lands. Americans value national and state parks and access to our extensive system of public lands. It is clear that these scout leaders were unaware of how to act as land stewards.

There are rules and regulations that govern conduct in our National Parks and Monuments, but a good set of general principles can be found in the “Leave No Trace” principles:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

These seven principles are expanded at the Leave No Trace website, http://www.lnt.org. Under “Leave What You Find” is an important bullet point:

•    Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.

The Boy Scout organization has adopted the “Leave No Trace” teaching as well. This recent incident in Utah is a reminder that all visitors to public lands, whether state parks or national monuments, should review these principles to help protect and conserve these lands for the future.

---Joel Brumm, BLM Assistant Monument Manager, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument