Though most kayakers are good
stewards of the land, there are some easily overlooked
areas it doesn't hurt to be reminded of on occasion.
By self-regulating ourselves, or
following a few basic rules and using common sense,
fewer regulations will be imposed on us and the natural
environment will be intact for future generations to
- Most wilderness areas have rules
and regulations that are in effect for a reason. Find
out what these are and follow them.
- If campfires are allowed and
you must have one, try finding a camp with an existing
fire ring and use driftwood for fuel. Otherwise, build
the fire below the high water line on the sand.
United States: only 1/20th of
the world’s population yet uses
1/3 of its resources. Not only
is our consumptive lifestyles depleting
the very things future generations need,
we are polluting our/their air &
water in the process. Realistically
though, at this point, even going back
to living in caves & hunting w/
atlatls would not solve the problem
as a whole. There are simply too many
people. We'd hunt all the animals to
extinction in little time which would
lead to a different sort of ecological
disaster. So, as unfortunate as it is,
a certain amount of damage is inevitable.
However...... by making lifestyle choices,
we can minimize our impacts to a great
degree with little sacrifice. Refraining
from needless consuming is the first
& biggest step. One way to do this
is to squeeze the most mileage
from our belongings as possible. Maintain
it then repair it. Not only will we
save money, we'll be doing our grandkids
& Mother Earth a favor.
tips on gear maintenance & repair,
- Burning garbage in the campfire
seems to be a popular evening pastime. However, it
is about as cool as t-top Camaros and mullets flowing
in the wind. Burning garbage, even if it is just paper,
is not ok. Doing so creates a number
of undesirable compounds including the highly toxic,
persistent and bioaccumulative dioxins effecting not
just humans but all living creatures. Please. Don’t
be lazy and burn. Carry out all your garbage, including
paper. You can do this by putting it in one of the
zip-locks or plastic bags you brought your food in.
It's light, compact and easy. Learn more about the
ramifications of garbage burning here.
- At bedtime, contain all garbage
in an unused stuff sack and hang from a branch. Leaving
it out is an invitation for rodents to chew in to
a hundred pieces and breezes to scatter.
- Do not remove branches from trees
for firewood or any other reason.
- When human waste isn’t
required to be carried out, and the protocol isn't
to spread on a rock in the sun, a sanitary latrine
should be dug at least 100' from all water sources.
This can be dug with your hands, pan, stick or rock.
Restore area to its natural state before leaving.
- Bury toilet paper with the human
|A good "biodegradable"
soap is best at home while no soap at all is
ideal for the backcountry hot spring.
- Urinate in the river not on the
bank. Your comrades would probably appreciate you
do this downstream from the filtering/wash spot though....
- Carry out all feminine hygiene
- Burn, bury or carry out any extra
- Minimize trampling effects by
using existing trails when possible.
- Do not rearrange rocks or downed
wood. If absolutely necessary for shelter placement,
place aside and return them to their natural state
- Grit your teeth and pick up after
any previous slobs.
- When using nature
as bedding or a pillow, scatter it and restore
the campsite as close to its natural state as possible
before leaving. A piece of brush makes a nice rake
for the finishing touches.
- Minimize dragging your kayak
over sharp rocks at camp and on portages. Though small,
plastic left behind is just another form of unsightly