THE TRUE MEANING OF CONSERVATION
This cedar tree used to grace the summit of Sentinel Peak at Sam Houston Area Council’s El Rancho Cima. It was a welcome spot of shade; a place to rest on hot, sunny days, and a place to gather for stargazing in the Texas hill country evenings. The hundred-year-old tree was our gift from God to our camp.
A severe thunderstorm blew the beloved tree down in May, 1985. It was God’s will, but some could not accept that. Within the next couple of years, the council bulldozed a road to the top of Sentinel Peak, leaving a large, ugly scar. Then they stuffed the top of Sentinel Peak with dynamite and blew a hole in the top big enough to swallow a car. After adding some soil, they planed a nursery tree in the hole. It survived less than a year, so bigger one was planted. This one was deliberately girdled by someone and consequently died also. I think they are on tree number 4 or 5 now. None of them measures up to the original, however.
The troop that blew up the top of Sentinel Peak received kudos for their conservation project. That’s right—conservation project!
Would you agree this is conservation? Sometimes our troop has been assigned “conservation projects” at camp that are questionable, like damming up creeks and destroying trees. I think that the goal of conservation should be to preserve the land and limit man’s impact upon it. Planting trees to control erosion, removing trash, installing erosion breaks on trails, and so forth—that’s conservation. With the top of Sentinel Peak no longer solid limestone, it’s destined for accelerated erosion. We could have served the environment better by installing a plastic tree.