The beautifully stunning and some times cold environment is the reason we go out and paddle. Even though the environment is continuously evolving and developing it can be very easily damaged due to its fragile nature. A lot of our activities involve being out in the Countryside.
The Countryside Code: Respect, Protect and Enjoy
Respect other people
- Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors.
- Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available.
Protect the natural environment
- Leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home.
- Keep dogs under effective control.
Enjoy the outdoors
- Plan ahead and be prepared.
- Follow advice and local signs.
The above is very straight forward and simple to understand. There are a number of other Paddling specific areas that may not be so obvious at first. British Canoeing are developing a check list for paddlers in any environment.
It would be good for individuals to follow a routine of rinsing all equipment with clean water after paddling outside this would reduce the likely hood of invasive species being spread from river to river. For more useful information please refer to the British Canoeing Environment Pages.
Water craft can inadvertently transport aquatic creatures from one water course to another. This can have a bad effect when an aggressive creature is introduced to an environment where the native species do not have a defence against them. There have been a number of high profile cases of alien species taking over, e.g. Signal Crayfish, and the so-called ‘killer shrimps’. Members can significantly reduce the accidental transfer of these and other organisms by removing mud and vegetation, and emptying water from boats at the get out before leaving the water side. This is particularly important when visiting more than one location in a day. Alien plant species can also be accidentally propagated by allowing plant material to enter a flowing river. Storing creepy crawlies in your kayak or soft kit is also not the best idea. If you are storing your equipment for a while it may be worth giving your kayak a deep clean and rice and store in a cool dry place your paddling kit.
It is not a good idea to eat invasive species, is it?
We need to eat and to keep our fuel levels up to keep our body going but what are up putting in your mouth? Always protect your food an a suitable water proof container and clean your hands before eating. The water bottle you have in tow – what is protecting the lid or lip you are about to put in your mouth?
There are many creatures lining in and around water we may paddle but are they all good for us?
There are a large number of water borne diseases that paddles could be exposed to. A common one is Lyme disease spread through small creatures’ urine, some signs and symptoms.