There is a difference between “Conservation” and “Preservation”. Folks that want things “preserved” want these areas to have zero access and human impact. “Conservationists” want to “Conserve these areas to be healthy and accessible for future generations.
The key Conservation Rule is to “Leave it Better Than You Found It”! When I was a Young Outdoorsman, I was mentored by 2 groups. Boy Scouts and The National Park Service. When camping, both groups taught me the right way to enjoy the outdoors.
Our family would spend entire summers camping in Yellowstone Park. The rangers were always positive role models and symbols of minimal impact on the outdoors. “Leave a footprint and only take a picture”. Campfire shows were classrooms to learn more about OUR parks.
When I went to Philmont Scout Ranch, the message was the same. After we broke camp, the site was cleaned up and left natural. We even went through the campfire coals to remove any foil or other manmade trash. Leave the campsite better than you found it.
It takes just a few slob hunters, fishermen, campers, hikers, bikers, floaters, or visitors to our outdoors, to ruin it for others. Picking up cans, trash, and evidence of human impact has always been the only way to enjoy the outdoors. Pet wastes has also become a big problem. Leaving the trail, campsite, access, or space clean and natural, invites others to do the same. Leaving the area trashy, shot up, and dumpy sends the opposite message.
Great mentors and responsible outdoor recreationists can send the opposite message. They demonstrate, and model, that we can utilize, enjoy, and celebrate our Natural Resources, while keeping them healthy, and accessible, for others to enjoy in the future.
Great Conservationists are great Stewards of our public spaces. It costs very little to keep these areas open to the public. If vandals, poachers, litterbugs, and selfish people get their way, areas will be closed, facilities removed, and access limited.
We all must take great care of our Great Open Spaces.
For more Montana Grant, find him Conserving at www.montanagrantfishing.com.