Canadian Canoe Routes
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The moral conundrum of using flagging tape
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Author:  scratchypants [ February 27th, 2020, 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The moral conundrum of using flagging tape

I almost lost a friend to "spot-flagging" - the practice of flagging a tricky part of a trail. An example would be an area with complex, topographic relief that is not severe enough to show up on a map as contour lines. My shy friend wanted to be well away while taking care of some personal business. She got turned around and spotted some flagging so, in desperation, decided to follow it. When it ended "nowhere" she followed it in the other direction with the same result. I managed to find her about a kilometer away. This was moose hunting at a fly-in only camp. Was what she did ill-advised? Most certainly. Would I have been devastated had she been lost for good? Yeah - so if I must flag, I do it for the entire trail and I mark start and end with multiple strips.

Author:  nessmuk [ February 27th, 2020, 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The moral conundrum of using flagging tape

A happy ending to what could have been extremely devastating. There are numerous examples of cases of lost persons that have gone the other way. Everyone should always carry a compass and a whistle in an accessible pocket when in the backcountry. And at least beware of cardinal directions traveled. Could have prevented a lot of worry and apprehension.

Author:  Wabakimi Guy [ February 27th, 2020, 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The moral conundrum of using flagging tape

Flagging tape can be a pain but so can blazes. On crown land prospectors use blazes when staking their claims. Twice just outside of Wabakimi we have been sent on wild goose chases by old prospector's blazes. Near Savant Lake and on the Big River we have followed blazes that eventually intersect in the middle of the claim where the prospector has blazed a tree where his paths crossed, going from corner to corner diagonally across his claim to avoid going all the way around. The middle tree will have blazes on 4 sides. Once we figured that out, we stopped following the blazes and either followed the moose trail (moose sometimes follow old portages) or GPS'ed the best route.

Author:  Stajanleafs [ March 3rd, 2020, 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The moral conundrum of using flagging tape

Rob is spot on - at least here in the North. Crown land trails will disappear quickly and once they go, the route becomes lost. I use a combo of portage signs, blazes and flagging tape to reopen or clear trails up here. When you're trying to save a route from becoming forever lost due to lack of maintenance and industry/development, regular and established travel goes a long way. IME, there's nearly an annual exponential decrease in route use once the landings start to fade. Use it or lose it and we can't always just cater to the hardcore, old school trippers if we want to keep the local spirit of an area or route alive.

In heavily trafficked areas, I can do without, though, from time to time, it's nice to guide you through some navigational quagmires.

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