Practice Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace principles are taught and encouraged by many RCABC instructors. On waterways where LNT principles are practiced, canoeists can feel the pleasure of being the first to discover an untouched wilderness even if thousands of people have passed before them. Most canoeists know what it feels like to explore a waterway and find garbage, campfire debris, damaged trees, improper human waste management and other remnants of bad camping practices. Let’s do our best to keep our BC wilderness clean and wild!
Always Make a Positive Impact
Many outdoor recreationists have been encouraging positive impact practices because of their desire to keep our wilderness clean. Positive impact involves leaving a location cleaner and with lower human impact than when you arrived. It can apply to wilderness or urban areas can be in the context of camping or day trips. Practicing positive impact often inspires others to do the same.
Access and Social Awareness
Access to waterways via roads, parks, trails and boat launches is critical to canoeing, but it is often taken for granted. Canoeists and kayakers often commit a tremendous amount of volunteer energy into maintaining or developing access. This typically involves working with local government, private land owners and recreation clubs and organizations. RCABC is committed to doing what we can to support responsible access to BC's waterways.
Wildlife and Habitat
British Columbia has tremendous ecosystem diversity: coastal mountains, dry grasslands and interior rainforests are a just a few of the many ecological zones in our province. Canoeists are encouraged to learn about the wildlife and habitat unique to the area you are canoeing in so you can better understand how to lessen your impact or even make a positive impact!
Fire & Lightning
Wildfires in BC can have a profound impact on the landscape, wildlife, economy and our safety. Lightning can be risky when out canoeing and camping either directly or by causing wildfires in the area. Learning about lightning, campfire and wildfire safety is vital to understanding our environmental impact and safety.
Food Safety/ Hygiene
While canoeing and camping, there are many bacteria and viruses transmitted by humans that can make your trip grueling or even cause serious long-term illness. Some of these parasites are highly contagious and if you go on a long trip they can spread through your group very quickly. Good Hygiene can control the spread of viruses, parasites and bacteria. A good wilderness first aid course can help with understanding and treatment.
Wildlife Safety and Diseases
People come from all over the world to enjoy British Columbia’s waterways. It is rare that anyone has a negative encounter with wildlife, particularly if they educate themselves and follow precautions. The photo is of a Deer Tick, spreader of Lyme Disease.
What Else Can Canoeists Do?
BC still has some large areas of wilderness but pressure on our environment is steadily increasing. Our lifestyles and economy demand more resource extraction. Water is becoming increasingly important as a commodity. Energy (hydroelectricity) is incredibly important to our lifestyles. Climate change is impacting snow packs, river levels, flora and fauna. What can we do?
The Invasives and R.A.P.P
Environmental impacts through pollution, poaching and the introduction of invasive species have considerable impact on BC's waterways and ecosystems. Awareness of the problem species and reporting are key to combating these ecosystem altering invaders. Eurasion Milfoil is pictured to the left.
R.A.P.P is the BC governement's Report all Poachers and Polluters phone line and web page.