Activity Plan 1 for Plan Ahead and Prepare
Exploring Pretrip Planning
This activity will take approximately 65 minutes.
What Your Group Will Learn
After participating in this activity plan, which is designed to help
participants learn about backcountry travel, they will be able to
- Identify at least three reasons why trip planning is
- Describe the key elements included in successful planning
- Create a planning and preparation checklist to use in making
future travel decisions.
- Explain how planning can help leave no trace.
Group members will participate in three activities. "Are You
Ready?" demonstrates the importance of trip planning. Next, "Will You
Make It?" reveals the key elements to consider when trip planning. Finally,
participants create a "Planning and Preparation Checklist" as a focal
point to wrap up the activity plan.
- Pictures depicting a local or regional environment (high
alpine, desert, river) for the "Are You Ready?" game. A collage of
pictures works well.
- One photocopy of the "Will You Make It?" handout
for each participant.
- One photocopy set of "Will You Make It?" travel cards per group of three to five participants. (See the end of this activity
- Read the entire lesson plan and the Background on the
Principles of Leave No Trace thoroughly.
- Ask participants to bring a backpack packed for a day hike
to the meeting. (Don't reveal a destination or suggest contents—explain it
is a practical drill.)
- Photocopy and laminate (optional) handouts and cards.
- Cut the "Will You Make It?" travel cards into
- For best results, pick a meeting place that allows small
groups to spread out to work.
- Consider practicing the activities beforehand with family or
Grabbing Your Group's Attention (15 minutes)
Are You Ready?
Use "Are You Ready?" to get the group energized. Break participants
into groups of three to five. Explain that you are going on an imaginary day
hike. Build suspense by asking participants to guess the destination. Show the
destination pictures and describe (weather, terrain, etc.) the location you have
selected. Explain the goal of the trip—for example, wildlife viewing or
fishing. Ask the group to unpack their packs and discuss answers to the
following questions. (The leader must read the questions below to help
- How well do the contents of your pack properly prepare you
for this trip?
- How well do the contents ensure your safety? Check for
proper clothing, maps, compass, small flashlight, water filter, first-aid
- How well do the contents ensure you will leave no
trace—that you will not damage natural resources? Check for stove,
repackaged food, cathole trowel, plastic jug for water, no hatchet, etc.
- How well do the contents ensure your trip will meet your
goal—for example, wildlife viewing or fishing—safely and enjoyably? Check
for binoculars, camera, bird book, etc.
|Note: Because participants packed
their packs without information, it is unlikely they will be adequately
prepared. The "Are You Ready?" activity will demonstrate the
importance of planning before packing.
Ask the small groups to briefly share the answers to the above questions. Key
facilitator discussion points:
- How would the contents of your pack differ with different destinations? The
equipment, clothing, and food chosen would change to suit the intended
- What other information do you need to pack properly for a trip?
There are at least seven elements described in the Background on the Principles
of Leave No Trace and "Will You Make It?" handout.
- What is the value
of knowing this information before packing? It helps ensure the safety of the
traveler, helps accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably, and minimizes impact
Steps for Teaching the Activity (30 minutes)
Travel Card Key
Will You Make It?
This activity will teach participants how to identify
events that can interfere with a successful trip. These are real-life scenarios
contributed by experienced field rangers who see poorly prepared groups suffer
because they do not plan ahead. "Will You Make It?" emphasizes the
need to plan solutions to potential problems before a trip.
events and solutions. Evenly distribute the travel event and solution cards.
Some group members may need to share cards if the group is larger than 16. The
goal is to have participants find the group member with the corresponding event
or solution card and form a pair. The leader may want to use the key to ensure
2. Plan a presentation. Once all solutions are matched to the
corresponding events, have each pair plan some way to teach the plan-ahead
concept. Allow group members to be imaginative. Some ideas include pantomime,
acting out, lecture, and drawing.
3. Give a presentation. Have each pair use
their chosen presentation method to teach their concept to the rest of the
Facilitate learning by discussing the scenarios after they are presented.
Make sure each event is discussed. Emphasize the key elements of trip planning
presented in the "Will You Make It?" handout and the Background on the
Principles of Leave No Trace. Tie these key elements to the importance of good
Why Is Trip Planning
- It prepares you to Leave No Trace.
- It helps ensure the safety of
groups and individuals.
- It contributes to accomplishing trip goals and having
- It increases self-confidence and opportunities for learning.
Consider When Trip Planning
- Identify the goals (expectations) of your trip.
- Identify the skills and ability levels of trip participants.
destinations to match the group's goals, skills, and abilities.
- In advance,
gain knowledge of the area you plan to visit.
- Choose the proper equipment and
- Plan trip activities to match the group's goals, skills, and
- Evaluate your trip upon return—note needed changes.
Planning and Preparation Checklist
Create a "Planning and
Preparation Checklist" you can use to plan your next trip. Use the answers
to these questions in creating the checklist.
- Can your group identify at least
three reasons why trip planning is important?
- Can your group describe seven key
elements included in successful planning and preparation ("Will You Make
It?" handout, Background on the Principles of Leave No Trace)?
- Do solutions
to planning elements change depending on the environment visited (i.e., desert
versus high alpine areas)? Reflect on conversation that resulted from the
imaginary day hike to the desert and alpine environments.
conducting a well-organized meeting for your group!
Wrapping Up the Activity (20
Your group has participated in three activities—one identifies the
importance of trip planning, another identifies key elements to consider when
planning a trip, and the third can be used as a tool for planning a trip. How
well has your group learned the importance of trip planning? If the group needs
additional help, try these activities.
- Create new event and solution cards as
you learn new Leave No Trace concepts.
- Discuss these topics. Ask participants
- If they have seen resource damage that may have resulted from poor planning
- To recall safety concerns they have experienced or witnessed as a result of poor planning
- Have participants share the planning process with their families and
use it to plan a family vacation or birthday party.