I spent my recent vacation in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. With every exploration into the wilderness I game it out. Yellowstone National Park is remarkable for the thermal features. Sure you have the vast plains, dramatic waterfalls and idyllic grassy meadows, but the warning signs are thrown up for the scalding hot water which just erupts out of the earth.
So the next time your B/X party of adventures are striding across the wasteland unimpeded have the ground they walk on start to erode their foot gear. Three days in and the PC starts taking damage, to their feet. Let them do the calculation. "But I can't survive the march out" if I'm takng damage from just walking.
Don't surprise the players. That is just shit GM'ing. But give them an inclination of the slow degradation of foot gear. Any asshat of a PC will pay attention to it.
Which leads to the next question; when is it appropriate to introduce a waste land to characters. Only after they have picked a marching order!
Anyways I'm thinking 1 point of damage a day until protection is achieved or environment is left.