Millcreek Canyon near Salt Lake City, courtesy the Tribune

Since his grad­u­a­tion from Pre­ston High School 12 years ago, Matt Dur­rant has made a name for him­self as a com­pos­er of sym­pho­ny-lev­el music—and as an advo­cate of out­door ethics.

Matthew Durrant
Dur­rant receiv­ing recog­ni­tion for his con­tri­bu­tion. Pho­to cour­tesy Dave Hatch

USFS awards Durrant for LNT He was recent­ly hon­ored for the lat­ter at a cer­e­mo­ny host­ed by the Nation­al For­est Ser­vice in Salt Lake City. Last spring, Dur­rant land­ed a job with Camp Tracey, a Boy Scouts of Amer­i­ca camp for 11-year-olds in Mill Canyon that sits at the base of the Mt. Olym­pus Wilder­ness Area. 

Because youth trav­el through the area on their 5-mile hike, Dur­rant saw a pos­si­bil­i­ty for the kids to earn a series of patch­es through a pro­gram devel­oped by the Nation­al For­est Ser­vice that edu­cates them on using the nation’s wilder­ness areas respect­ful­ly. 

He quick­ly saw the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a part­ner­ship between the Nation­al For­est Ser­vice and BSA and worked to help hun­dreds of youth and adults gain an appre­ci­a­tion of the wilder­ness area.

The pro­gram is for pub­lic, but most­ly Scouts because we’ve had some of them be not respect­ful,” he said.

When Dur­rant con­tact­ed the For­est Ser­vice to get patch­es for the boys, the agency quick­ly real­ized they would have to make more – Dur­rant want­ed almost 500 patch­es, and they only had a few dozen on hand.

I used up their entire sup­ply in the first week. We were able to spread that mes­sage (of leav­ing no trace and being more respect­ful to nature) to all the 11-year-old scouts,” said Dur­rant. In the process, he devel­oped a cur­ricu­lum oth­er lead­ers can use, and now runs all “Leave No Trace” train­ing with­in the three scout­ing coun­cils in Utah. 

In recog­ni­tion of pro­mot­ing the Uin­ta-Wasatch-Cache Nation­al Forests Leave No Trace and Expe­ri­ence the Wilder­ness ini­tia­tive ‘Earn a Patch’ pro­gram in 2016 at Camp Tracey,” states a cer­tifi­cate he was recent­ly pre­sent­ed in appre­ci­a­tion for his lead­er­ship at a recent out­door ethics train­ing pro­gram held by the Great Salt Lake Coun­cil of the BSA.

Matt is a mas­ter train­er for the ‘Leave No Trace and Tread Light­ly’ pro­grams,” said Dave Hatch, For­est Land­scape Archi­tect and Recre­ation Spe­cial­ist of Scenery, Wilder­ness and Trails with the Uni­tah-Wasatch-Cache Nation­al For­est Super­vi­sors’ Office.

He brought the Trap­per Trails, Great Salt Lake, and Utah Nation­al Parks Coun­cil togeth­er with us to part­ner in teach­ing youth out­door ethics.

He was a sig­nif­i­cant play­er in see­ing that For­est Ser­vice has been engaged with Salt Lake Coun­cil. He devel­oped the cur­ricu­lum for how we’d like to approach oth­er coun­cils next to wilder­ness areas, which are dif­fer­ent from pub­lic lands,” said Hatch.

Matt has been involved since begin­ning. The rela­tion­ship has evolved and he has helped the For­est Ser­vice get out and involved when GSL Coun­cil has an event. We’ve also been in atten­dance at Scout­ing expos.”

The award “was well deserved and that’s why he was award­ed at the BSA Nation­al Out­door Ethics Con­fer­ence,” said Paula Booth, the West­ern Region Out­door Ethics Coor­di­na­tor for the BSA. “He’s a hard work­ing indi­vid­ual. We love him dear­ly,” she said.

Dur­rant cur­rent­ly lives in Salt Lake, where he is the father of two lit­tle girls. He is also fin­ish­ing his PhD in music, for which he is writ­ing a string quar­tet, as well as his dis­ser­ta­tion. Even­tu­al­ly, he hopes to teach music at a uni­ver­si­ty. For five years, he held a grad­u­ate teach­ing assist­ant­ship at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Utah.

This arti­cle pro­vid­ed by Necia P. Sea­mons, edi­tor
The Pre­ston CIt­i­zen 

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