Kayaking is already an eco-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors. Kayaks are propelled by man-power rather than engines, they do not emit any gases that are harmful to the environment. But there are always ways to make an already eco-friendly activity, like kayaking, even less harmful to the environment. So next time you’re planning a kayaking adventure, consider some of these ideas to minimize your environmental impact.
Use gear made from recycled materials
The first step to being friendly to the environment happens before you even hit the water. When shopping for the gear you need to go kayaking, look for products made from recycled materials. Recycling is so important because it prevents waste from emitting the harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases that it would if it were sent to a landfill.
Buying items produced using recycled materials helps keep this waste out of landfills, and in turn reduces pollution. You can find all types of kayaking gear available from recycled materials, from the kayak itself, to kayak paddles , life jackets, waterproof shoes, and so much more.
Any time you are outdoors, not littering is an obvious way to avoid contributing to pollution. But there is more that you can do to help keep the environment clean. Remember that littering includes food scraps even if they are biodegradable. Always carry an extra trash bag with you, and pick up any litter that you find left behind by other people.
As for human waste, plan accordingly and use the restroom ahead of time and look up available restrooms along your route so you will know how soon the next one is available. If there aren’t restrooms available, bring a human waste receptacle so that you can pack it out.
Also make sure to wash the inside and outside of your kayak after each trip, to avoid transporting any invasive species that are trying to hitch a ride. Give your shoes and any other gear that may have plant or animals segments on them a good cleaning between trips as well.
Be respectful of wild animals
Kayaking in secluded locations can be a great opportunity to see wildlife. But don’t take it for granted, and be respectful of the animals and their homes. Don’t approach wild animals, even if they seem friendly, and definitely do not feed them. It may seem like a harmless way to get closer to animals, but it can be dangerous for both you and the animal.
Also keep noise to a minimum to avoid disturbing the animals in their habitats. You are also likely to see more wildlife if you aren’t scaring them away with noise. If you are in a river, avoid paddling over gravel areas with a low water level where fish may be spawning.
Be mindful of where you step
Being conscious of where you are walking will help protect the plant life around you. Keep an eye out when you are moving around on shore and avoid stepping on or damaging plants. If there are designated trails, keep on them until it is time to launch your kayak. Transport your kayak to the water by carrying it, rather than dragging it, to avoid disturbing the landscape.
Also be mindful of where you are launching and landing. Avoid fragile banks that may crumble under too much pressure. River banks can be home to a variety of plant and animal life that is easily disturbed. The ideal spot to launch is from a dock or a designated launch site. And of course, don’t move or take anything (this includes picking flowers).
Avoiding crowds helps with the previous two points that involve being respectful of wildlife. The more people that are in an area, the more disruption is going to be inflicted on the environment. This comes from both noise pollution, and the physical disturbances to plant life. If possible, plan your kayaking trips during the off season, so that the environment isn’t already overwhelmed with people. Also avoid kayaking in large groups.
If you do find yourself in a group of people, be extra mindful of the surroundings. Avoid walking and launching in the exact same spot, to minimize the impact on one area. Also remind everyone in your group to keep their noise to a minimum to avoid disturbing the wildlife.
By taking these tips into consideration, you can make kayaking an even more environmentally friendly activity, and help minimize your ecological footprint while enjoying the outdoors. That way the beautiful landscapes you currently enjoy will be in pristine condition to enjoy for generations to come.
Salman is a prolific environmental writer, and has authored more than 500 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management, sustainability and conservation all over the world.
Salman can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
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