Two Boy Scout troop leaders were in the news this week and last for vandalizing a geological formation in Utah. Destruction of our natural and national heritage is of course contrary to the most basic principles of Scouting and Woodcraft. This reckless and stupid behavior was rightly denounced by BSA. One can easily imagine how appalled Seton would have been to hear that the core value of conservation was so flagrantly violated. He was no fan of ignorance. Seton did not mention ancient rocks, but no doubt would have if he could have predicted the behavior of the Utah yahoos. These jokers need a remedial class in common sense.
Here is a short Seton statement on conservation from the Birch Bark Roll (1930). I should put it in red so as to get the attention of the uninitiated!
“In my young days some 50 odd years ago, trees were considered the greatest plague of the settler, and every means of destroying them was employed with vigor. The man who cut down a tree on his neighbor’s land was supposed to be doing him a benefit.
Now what a change we see! Forest destruction has gone so fast and so far that we have been suddenly confronted with the probability of a woodless waste where once were the American forests famous the world over; with a desolated deliberately desolated, fatherland.
We know these things today, and wise leaders are everywhere at work inculcating the methods of true conservation.
With these leaders, the Woodcraft League co-operates, and to this end, we have in this issue of the Birch Bark Roll carefully avoided any line of activity that seems likely to lead to destruction of any of Mother Nature’s blessings.
Collections of butterflies and birds we no longer encourage, baskets made of materials where their use would be a menace to our forest resources are not now listed for honors. On the other hand, the placing of bird boxes, the planting of trees, and dissemination of wild flowers and the destruction of tent caterpillars, etc., are cited as honorable Woodcraft activities.
Feel free to pass on this conservation message to anyone you feel is in need of it.