View topic - Thoughts on Canoe Tripping and Human Impact

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2013, 10:42 am 
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I have no idea of the point of the above except of course we all Leave A Trace.


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2013, 11:06 am 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
I have no idea of the point of the above except of course we all Leave A Trace.


Well, It would actually surprise me if you did.


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2013, 12:15 pm 
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Are you angry with me?
Is it because i advocate for active management of back country areas by those travelling through them?

Or was it because my late night musings are not rigioiressly defended?
They were not intended to be a thesis. More like an insight into my personal, admittedly conflicted view on the subject matter. It was creative writing rather than journalism.

Or is something else buggin you?

Please ex

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2013, 1:36 pm 
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Dan. wrote:

Please ex


Dan,
You wrote:

When you get of the canoe a significant amount of time is spent looking for trace. Finding some HUMAN GARBAGE is GREAT news. Tin cans, old tools, nails in trees etc. are all evidence that this area ha been used in the past 30-300 years. This garbage is documented and presented to the management officials who are now obliged to at least recognize that this area is Navigable, and has historic use. It is now required to be at least considered for protection in the future.

Where in the NWA does it state that garbage is a valid method of protection of canoe routes? Or if you didn't mean the NWA, what act are you specifically referring to?

Please provide a specific reference (a quote from the actual act) because while I don't know, if that is true, a literal interpretation would be throw more junk and make more mess so that we can all canoe in an unfettered wilderness. Which is a contradiction in terms and I think even you would have to agree sounds absurd.

The NWA to my knowledge is /was revamped to allow government to get around the loopholes of preventing bridges and other industrialized infrastructure from being built on body's of water. Again, to my knowledge, it has NOTHING to do with protecting canoe routes nor does it state that having people throw garbage or bang nails into trees will prevent them from industry doing what they want.

The right to recreational use of a canoe on a lake or river is (I think) being confused with industries right to urbanize. Those two rights are not mutually exclusive in every case.

And, I simply find it impossible to believe the recreational canoe person will have advanced their position with more garbage or wanton destruction as a means of preventing industrialization. If anything I think the industry's argument to increase sewage, industrialize or add to contamination of lake water would benefit from these kinds of activities, as it will indicate people don't put much value on the land in question.

I emphasize that portage clearing, campsite clearing, fire pits, signage that is required to get from A to B are not within my definition of "destruction or garbage" in wilderness settings outside of managed parks (which have their own protocols and people to do it).

Even then, I'm not aware that all the portages and campsites in the world will prevent the government from erecting a bridge or building infrastructure on a lake or near a river. They, the government, have engineered the rules to be outside our reach.

Evidence of human impacts can be seen in soil compaction, which happens when you walk on a path. People that use a route often enough create unnatural clearances even if they don't intend to.

Excluding governance in specific acts, I do agree with you that people need to affect landscape in order to inhabit it. In that sense, I agree that in SOME cases, the use of a lake by recreationalists can help to keep it protected.

I note a recent thread on Wolfe Lake and that activities were being promoted to raise awareness. I did not read anywhere on that thread that the people advocating for Wolfe lake protection wanted people to dump garbage. Or bang nails into trees.

However, recreation can be the cause of environmental loss, a historical example that comes to mind is cod fishing off Newfoundland. It was a right of all cod fisheries, until it was done to excess. In these situations, the "use it or loose it" argument fails.

This is the nuances of "human impact" that I'm calling you on. This is what doesn't make sense to me.

That aside, you called me out (implicitly) in your post, and I think it was done with a flair for the dramatic and perhaps because you're feelings were hurt. I'm sorry and would agree its time for us both to move on.

Now, if you have those facts on the NWA, I would be interested to read them but (and this is your thread, and your call) I'm not sure if its on or off topic because as you stated, your post was "late night musings" and I'm not sure where we draw the line.

Edited a few times to try to explain since it seemed necessary.


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2013, 2:45 pm 
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I think we are confusing scale here.

Some routes only get travelled a couple times per decade. In between uses a campsite can grow over so completely that it becomes un recognizeable.

When surveyors from logging companies travel through or fly over for their EA they may not be aware of the canoe route or campsite's existance.

After the initial ea is completed, there is a breif period of public consultation. This is the opportunity that we have to voice our concerns to the logging or development proposal. At this time we must present evidence of historic and current use of this land in order to protect it from cutting or to at least preserve sightlines etc. tin cans from the 50s and60s along with written records or journals can make up part of the body of evidence. Ergo, old garbage helps protect our wild spaces.

Soil compaction isnt really a viable method in the boreal when a single blowdown can leave a pile of wood 4' high. Not to mention that there really is no soil to compact. We got spagnum and rock.

I remember with with Phil in wabakimi that a single 200year old blaze in a tree was sufficient evidence to reopen a portage that hadnt been used in at least 50 years.

I am not talking about algonquin, temagami, french river, killarney, killbear here. Those places suffer from the opposite problem. There are so many people going there that strict rules are required to limit impact.


Algonquin park is really a special case. People come from all over the world to paddle from opeongo to smoke lake. I run into germans at pearson all the time that have flown here for a 'wilderness' experiance in algonquin park. I think its fantastic that place can host over 1m usernights per year and still pass with some people for wilderness. That volume is comparible with canadas wonderland 1/3rd btw. The gist of the other thread was that someone was upset that there was some shit in the most hghly used part of that park in peak season.The response from the rest of us was 'duh'. Either accept that you are in essentialy a woodsy metropolis or go somewhere else where you will have to search for some remote trace of human life.

I asked about diapers and was accused of being selfish and my thinking was the cause of all that was wron with algonquin.

Then we got into name calling.....
There are some folk on this board who I met in the bush when their canoe was wrapped around a rock. I pulled it off and put it back together.
Someone else i met in the park in early may, they were dressed for summer, it was snowing and i gave them and extra down jacket.
I called in a helicopeter on my sat phine when i met a group havin an anaphlaxis episode.

Its not that i am a hero or anything stupid like that. I just try to do the right thing and help when I can. I dont appreciate when someone who is complaining about a newby scratching his canoe with a paddle on a portage calls me selfish. If that girl was having so much trouble with here pack, why dont you help her? Dude, by his own admission is just learning how to portage himself. Maybe he should figure that out before threatening to ticket and report other campers for perceived infractions?

Anywho, i think we have reached the end of this portage. Time to take a dip and cool off.

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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2013, 8:14 am 
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ravenlunatic wrote:

However, recreation can be the cause of environmental loss, a historical example that comes to mind is cod fishing off Newfoundland. .


Oh, wow! Try to find a more relevant example! People weren't catching cod off Nfld just for the fun of it. :roll: :doh:

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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2013, 8:27 am 
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wotrock wrote:
ravenlunatic wrote:

However, recreation can be the cause of environmental loss, a historical example that comes to mind is cod fishing off Newfoundland. .


Oh, wow! Try to find a more relevant example! People weren't catching cod off Nfld just for the fun of it. :roll: :doh:



I missed that one completely! Good Catch wotrock! :rofl:


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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2013, 10:12 am 
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uh-oh.....did I just spend my long weekend doing the wrong thing?? :-?


Image




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but I only took enough for me and the bowmate to eat.....



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and I swear, I took all the not-for-eating-bits out to the middle & gave them to the turtles.......


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and, honest, i picked up all of both of our poop and packed it out......pinky swear...I did....... :D :wink: :D

(...all offered with tongue firmly in cheek, and hopefully no offence to anyone.... :) ). Hope everyone had as good a Labor Day weekend paddle as we did! :thumbup:

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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2013, 10:37 am 
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Quote:
uh-oh.....did I just spend my long weekend doing the wrong thing?? :-?


Doesn't look like it. I think I would rather have been there than here playing host to last minute guests. Sometime when they say "we're coming", I will get the nerve to say "nice..House is open. We're going paddling. Buy groceries cause no one is gonna feed you."

Packed out Poopy? Y?


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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2013, 10:58 am 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
Quote:
uh-oh.....did I just spend my long weekend doing the wrong thing?? :-?


Doesn't look like it. I think I would rather have been there than here playing host to last minute guests. Sometime when they say "we're coming", I will get the nerve to say "nice..House is open. We're going paddling. Buy groceries cause no one is gonna feed you."

Packed out Poopy? Y?



I don't do last minute guests - I don't have a landline, so if I do get a call, it's on my mobile, and, obviously, i could be just about anywhere, couldn't I?? :wink:

The poop thing is because there wasn't more than about 2 mm of soil over granite where i was, so taking it out seemed like the best idea..... :-?

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PostPosted: September 4th, 2013, 6:54 pm 
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I'm a bit scared to go wade through the LNT thread now, but I do think I need to figure out a way to spend some time drinking scotch with Dan. :D

If I can add anything meaningful to this discussion, it would be that I came to the conclusion many years ago that if we wanted to protect or preserve anything then we would need to be able to show it's "value". That can be as simple as signing a guest book, posting a trip log or even buying a permit. Or it can be as complex as the Wabakimi Project or many of the other projects folks have taken on. No, it won't be the same 50 years from now but that doesn't always mean it is less wild. Algonquin is a good example. It may not be "really" wild, but that high traffic area around Canoe Lake is a lot more wild and "natural" now than it was 100 years ago when Tom Thomson was painting it.

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2020, 9:11 pm 
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I'm not quite sure how I came across this thread, but it looks like a good place to put the question forth. I found Dan's thoughts to be quite insightful and I'm having a similar inner dialogue, so I thought I'd resurrect the thread.

We're doing a trip to Wabakimi this year. Wabakimi is a pretty wild place, and sees very little maintenance. A few trails/portages are cleared every year, but not many. Some of them saw a lot of use a century or two ago, but now, not so much. Now, fly-in fishing accounts for 75% or so of the visitors up there, and those folks don't tend to clear trails all that much (trust me, I'm one of those people when I can't be in a canoe, and I own a small fishing boat).

Were it not for Phil's efforts, I'm not sure we'd be able to do this trip. Now, Phil... he was at loggerheads with the Parks. He brought chainsaws. He left as much "human impact" as humanly possible, without spoiling anything. Without efforts like his, adventures like mine would not be possible.

Which leads me to question... how much impact should I strive to have? I'm struggling with the idea of leaving flagging tape, clearing campsites, putting in new blazes, cutting and burning brush, that kind of thing.

This will be the remotest trip my group has ever done. I'm sure others will be in a similar position, and I hope to make the park more useable for future paddlers, so it may be protected for generations to come. But I don't want to spoil it.

If I could ask Phil (may he rest in peace), I would. I've spoken with Bruce Hyer (aka the Father of Wabakimi) regrading outfitting and shuttles and whatnot, but I haven't asked about this. Perhaps he would have some insight? (his memory isn't what it used to be though)

So specifically, in the Wabakimi area, how do people feel about leaving new blazes, flagging trails, clearing old campsites and that - and more generally, in these kinds of lesser used areas, I'd like to hear what people think about leaving a very noticeable human trace, LNT be damned.

Yes, I do think this thread is a good place to ask this question; it provides a very apt context for the question. Sorry for the necro.

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PostPosted: June 1st, 2020, 10:07 am 
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The Area is much rougher than you think.
I would not "burn" the brush there is very little soil there and it dries out very fast and once you see the mosses in the off trail sections that can be more than knee deep you will understand why and how the fires can get so big there.
It is an amazing area the more heavily used one do have blazes so a new clean mark would be good.
Blow downs in the area can change a portage instantly.
Pay attention to the storms and where you camp the trees uproot very easily.
If you are going in blue berry season enjoy!
Using hand tools to clear massive blowdowns is not easy.
Make sure everyone is on the sampe page for a tougher trip.
The big lakes can get very rough.
Getting in could be tough if they don't open the train or let too many people in the plane for a fly in.
But you can always do a loop going in the Little Caribou.
Jeff
Jeff

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PostPosted: June 1st, 2020, 1:47 pm 
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You wrote,
Which leads me to question... how much impact should I strive to have? I'm struggling with the idea of leaving flagging tape, clearing campsites, putting in new blazes, cutting and burning brush, that kind of thing.

I’m all for keeping canoe routes open. To me that includes maintaining the original portage trails. I prefer tool-less hand clearing trails first. Next using hand tools, pruning loppers and pruning saws. Then a buck saw, bow saw, Swede saw.
Emphasis on the original portage trail.
I’ve never used a chainsaw for portage maintenance but I do use one for trail maintenance close to home.
Once a portage is maintained I see no use for flagging tape. It might helpful to flag a route before clearing to confirm you have the original portage before clearing.
I don’t blaze portages but I do like to find and see old blazes because they verify old portage trails. Nowadays I believe my sawed downed trees act as blazes. It doesn’t take much use to maintain portages. I wouldn’t burn brush in the wilderness.

Clearing campsites is the similar. I prefer minimal hand clearing to maintain original campsites.

I seek wilderness for nature. I believe in maintaining old portage trails as a means to travel. Seeing cleared trails is part of it but I need the wilderness and nature as pristine as possible.

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PostPosted: June 1st, 2020, 6:36 pm 
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I worked with Phil Cotton on The Wabakimi Project as a participant, trip leader, editor, confidant, and best of all friend for over 12 years. Our Canoe Route Mapping Policy that was developed was the result of innumerable meetings, phone calls, emails, chats, road and canoe trips with other members of the project and Phil. The document is the culmination of years of effort in the boreal forest of the Wabakimi Area. I am making it available for all and any who wish to trip in the boreal and are interested in the values we used and the process we followed on our trips. Packet Fiend and any others who are interested, I can email you a copy of the Wabakimi Project Canoe Route Mapping Policy for your perusal. It's an excellent resource for those interested in understanding the mapping the over 6 million acres of the Wabakimi Area. Please email me at the email below if you are interested.


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