October 12, 2010

San Juan College :: 'Leave No Trace' Training

Last weekend my class and I headed to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park for a Leave No Trace Trainer Course. The training was a part of a Wilderness Ethics class being offered by San Juan College. We were all super pumped to be headed to a beautiful place like the Black Canyon for a “class”.

If you have ever been on a Leave No Trace Trainer Course, then you will know that the first topic talked about is Plan Ahead and Prepare. Our instructor mentioned that it might be the most important principle as it will set you up for success for your next outdoor adventure. Included in the discussion were the hiking/backpacking 10 Essentials, in which a map is one of those ten. As a self-proclaimed “map geek”, I was pretty excited to see our instructor pull out the Trails Illustrated Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti NRA Map.

The map was a vital resource for planning our hikes for the weekend. By studying the contour lines and trail distances on the map we were able to determine which trails were the most suited to our group’s physical abilities and the class’ educational purposes. The map provided basic details like restroom locations, but was also detailed enough to show us what areas of the park required a backcountry permit. The map made several appearances during our hikes and quite a few more back at camp while students planned a return trip later this fall.

David Whitford – Student, San Juan College