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215 Lessening the Impact on Lakes and Rivers 2010-04-14

litter on the bank

On our weekly hikes we have often traveled along the shores of creeks, streams, lakes, and rivers. The trails are generally in pristine condition, but the banks of the bodies of water are a different matter. Discarded plastic line the shores. But, plastic is not the only source of litter on the lakes and rivers. Plastic is the smoking gun, because it floats back to the surface, whereas the glass and cans just sink. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong!

Note: There are many other issues concerning water pollution other than littering - including dumping, discharging, and draining. I am just focusing on recreational users pollution. I agree litter is the small picture, but it is a start.



To lessen user impact on lakes and rivers we should...

  • Use the least intrusive vessel possible. Bigger is not better. Faster is not needed. Louder is unwanted. If the boat owner needs to flaunt their ego by having the most expensive..., perhaps they can give large donations to charity and choose a dandy row boat for fishing!
  • If a motor boat is required, keep the motor and boat in good working order. Keep the boat clean inside and out.
  • Watch the vessels speed. Slow down.
  • Watch the vessels noise.
  • Keep a trash container (with a secure lid) in the vessel. A lot of trash from boats blows into the water. Keep the boat clean and the trash in a trash container.
  • Carry a trash bag to pick up others litter.
  • Anything you carry out onto the lake needs to come back. I know that it is illegal to operate a vessel drunk. Throwing the empty cans into the lake does not absolve the operator of Boating Under the Influence.
  • Don’t try to sink litter!!! The lake (or river) is not a trash can or recycling bin.
  • Cigarette butts are litter too.
  • Follow Leave No Trace standards for camping and waste (including going to the bathroom.)
  • Folks recreating along the banks - fishing, swimming, or picnicking - are also responsible to pack out their trash and anything they brought with them to the recreational site.
  • Users should volunteer for Clean-Up days.
  • Teach and share with others the ways you have found to lessen your impact on the lakes and rivers.

Happy clean water trails.



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