Many years ago, on a hot day, we were portaging over a tough trail that seemed to go straight up. I wondered where some of the others in our canoe party were. They had not shown up for the second trip across the portage. When I came over the top of the hill and arrived at the lake, I found them – swimming. I couldn’t believe it as I dripped with sweat. Needless to say, I was a little steamed.
With canoe season quickly approaching, it’s a great time to review some paddling etiquette. Following a few simple rules will insure that everyone in your group has a great trip and will keep bad feelings in check.
Here Is A Canoe Country Etiquette Starter List
- Avoid Negativity – Spending a week in the wilderness with Debbie and Donnie Downer can crush your fellow paddlers’ souls. Keep conversation upbeat, particularly when the going gets a little rough.
- Don’t Litter In the Wilderness – Most wilderness travelers want to leave the wilderness pristine. Littering is a quick way to upset your fellow travelers.
- Keep the Campsite Picked-up – A campsite is a shared space for everyone in the group. Help keep it picked up and the others will have a new respect for you, especially when everyone is tired at the end of the day.
- Helping with the Cooking and Dishes – Even if you can’t boil water, you can wash dishes. If you want to eat, you should help with preparation and clean-up. A campsite is not a restaurant with your fellow campers serving you.
- Listen To Your Outfitter – Before your BWCA canoe trip, your outfitter will give you some sage advice. This advice is born from years of experience. Listening on the dock will become invaluable in the wilderness.
- Don’t Lose Your Temper – Fatigue kicks in during canoe trips. So does frustration. Keep your temper in check and let the current problem pass. You are on vacation after all.
- Be There for your Fellow Paddlers – A trip in the Boundary Waters or Quetico wildernesses can be tough, particularly for inexperienced canoeists and campers. Be a mentor and be supportive. It makes a huge difference for the others in the group.
- Carry Your Fair-Share Over Portages – See opening paragraph – enough said.
A positive attitude and willingness to help will go a long way in making your next trip into the BWCA memorable and fun.
Paddle On. Be Free.