Paddler's Code of Conduct (bear with me)

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marv_mcd
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Paddler's Code of Conduct (bear with me)

Post by marv_mcd »

For argument's sake...



Issue:

- I feel a strong obligation to limit my impact on the environment

- I feel little moral responsibility to abide by an unfair access agreement



So:

As responsible, environmentally aware people, what would be on our Code of Conduct?

After all, if the access issue suddenly disappeared, or everyone decided to ignore the agreements, the Lyn Gorge would not become any less sensitive.



How would/should we regulate ourselves?

tom saffell NLI

erm

Post by tom saffell NLI »

how about:

"take only [beatings], leave only [when it's dark]"

tom saffell

Cam
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Post by Cam »

Do we actually create any environmental problems anyway (the spawning beds argument is bogus due to the depth at which the salmon lay their eggs (10-30cm))

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RichA
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Post by RichA »

Litter, noise, eroding river banks (ok, not if it's rock), parking on verges. There's a chap at the take out of the Speak Gorge who is very upset about paddlers ruining his verge and changing outside his house.

More paddlers = increase of all of the above.

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Patrick
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Post by Patrick »

I have to agree with Marv that there should be a code of conduct out there. At the moment there are people boating in th UK who are very knowedgeable about how boaters impact on the environment in general, but the information is not accessabled in a coherent form for people to look up. For example I had no idea about the scale of the damage dams can cause before Jim's post a month or so ago.

American White water is way ahead of the BCU, http://www.americanwhitewater.org/conservation/ is a very informative site, there's an article on there about the things to consider when removing trees from river (here). It aproaches the issue from a refreshing persective devoid of regulation.

There some interesting cases in the UK. Is it still true that huge fines await anyone that paddles the Marteg gorge for example? The evidence that kayaking disturbes otters must be fairly sketch, but we have nothing to come back with.

At the end of the day though prehaps by far the biggest impact you have on the environment in as a paddler is through the massive millage you almost inevitable clock up.

P

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Tom_Laws
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Post by Tom_Laws »

isnt there something right at the begining of the English whitewater guidebook?


will go and dig it out....

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neilfarmer
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Post by neilfarmer »

RichA wrote:Litter, noise, eroding river banks (ok, not if it's rock), parking on verges. There's a chap at the take out of the Spean Gorge who is very upset about paddlers ruining his verge and changing outside his house.

More paddlers = increase of all of the above.
It is not his verge. He has a right to complain about people changing outside his house, (if they are offensive/unreasonable) as I have a right to complain about people parking outside my flat to go shopping in glasgow.

As for "more paddlers = increase of the above", stop being so exclusive! There are always problems with more people accessing the environment, but that is life! We all need to adapt to a crowded country.
Neil Farmer.

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David Fairweather
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Post by David Fairweather »

I'm fairly sure that the biggest environmental impact (local or global) associated with paddling arises as a result of us jumping in cars and driving to and from the rivers.

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paddlersteve
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Post by paddlersteve »

Our friends at the BCU have a page on their website covering the matter:

http://www.bcu.org.uk/access/environmentpolicy.html

It doen't really say a great deal, but it covers some of the major points. However, how many of us were aware that this existed at all? Exactly!

With regards to jumping in cars are driving around the counrty, how does that compare to the weekend migration of football supporters around the country?

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John Cleaver
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Re: Paddler's Code of Conduct (bear with me)

Post by John Cleaver »

marv_mcd wrote: - I feel little moral responsibility to abide by an unfair access agreement
... what would your definition of an unfair access agreement be?
John Cleaver

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Patrick
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Post by Patrick »

.. what would your definition of an unfair access agreement be?
That would be the whole point of putting effort into a code of conduct. At the moment it is very difficult to make an informed desision.

http://www.bcu.org.uk/access/environmentpolicy.html

It doen't really say a great deal, but it covers some of the major points
I couldn't agree more. There are some nice bland statements like the:
English Nature and the BCU agree that there is unlikely to be any significant
impact on or lasting disturbance to wildlife and the water environment from the passage of
canoes. English Nature recognises that the BCU’s Environmental Panel promotes due regard
for possible impacts.
If you are trying to decide whether it is fair or not to paddle the Hepste Gorge, or the East Dart, this dosen't really help you.

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall »

Copied this from the 'Time for a manifesto' post. The subject matter is very similar:

Guidelines:

• Be friendly and polite to locals
• Keep noise to a minimum.
• Close all gates after going through them, and use stiles when available.
• Stick to footpaths when crossing private land.
• Take care when driving or parking, and to avoid causing any obstruction.
• Get changed with modesty and where possible out of public view.
• Be considerate to other water users.
• Support local businesses
• Take all litter home or to find a litter bin.
• Avoid disturbing the local wildlife.
• Avoid environmental damage.
• Leave no trace.

Martin

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paddlersteve
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Post by paddlersteve »

In order to produce a code of conduct that would be able to help you make a decision with regard to an access situation, you would almost need one for each different location.

In addition what is a fair or unfair access agreement is very subjective, one persons opinion is different to anothers.

But

I would agree that a code of conduct for paddlers would give us the opportunity to enjoy paddle sport whilst taking into consideration other stakeholders. A code of conduct or best practise that reminds paddlers of what in many cases they already know with regard to parking vehicles, accessing water, conduct on and off the water etc etc could go a long way to improving the image of the sport with those who think we are a bunch of hooligans

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RossC
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Post by RossC »

How about this advice from our governing body:

http://www.bcu.org.uk/access/earnawelcome.html

I seem to remember getting a copy of this when I joined but my memory of that is a bit hazy now...

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marv_mcd
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Post by marv_mcd »

Some interesting points guys.
My original thinking behind a code of conduct was not intended to help me decide whether to abide by an access agreement or not. Rather I was thinking, if we taken access agreements out of the equation (for the sake of the argument), how would we regulate ourselves, what guidelines would we make for ourselves? How would we make sure we didn't all paddle the Lyn at the same time and ruin the banks etc. (You'll have gathered I like the Lyn).

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Removal of Access Barriers

Post by paddlersteve »

By removing the access agreements issue though you are changing the shape of paddling in England and Wales completely. In this case I would expect a dispersal of problems relating to our impact on the theory that paddlers would be spread more thinly accross the country exploring a wider selection of rivers.

It is because of the access agreement in place that certain areas are more prone to environmental impact, changing at the Spean Gorge Egress, parking on the Lune etc.

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall »

maybe a voluntary limit on numbers would be in order, controlled by BCU access officers.
I agree that it could get silly on certain rivers, imagine the Dart loop at a weekend if there were no limits on the number of people allowed to paddle. I don't think that numbers would naturally spread across other rivers in the region, after all, there are plenty of other paddleable rivers in the SW with pretty good access, but it's still the Dart that gets the big numbers.

Martin

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MarkB
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Re: Removal of Access Barriers

Post by MarkB »

paddlersteve wrote:It is because of the access agreement in place that certain areas are more prone to environmental impact, changing at the Spean Gorge Egress, parking on the Lune etc.
'Access agreements' don't exist in Scotland anyway, do they? So that can't be right for the Spean... more likely it gets more visitors due to being paddleable in a much wider (i.e. lower water) range of conditions.

Same could be said of the Lune. I'm not even sure there is an official agreement anymore on the popular Upper section.

I think the way it goes in England and Wales is more like...

.... river is popular
.... conflicts more likely to arise (other users, environment)
.... access agreement more likely to be asked for
.... and is more likely to be reached as other users see a benefit to themselves, realising that simply stonewalling won't work
Mark

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Post by Chas C »

imagine the Dart loop at a weekend if there were no limits on the number of people allowed to paddle.

But if we had free access to all rivers this problem would not occur because you could paddle anywhere you wanted too.

Chas

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Martyn Read
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Dart

Post by Martyn Read »

Doesn't everyone just go and paddle the dart anyway if it rains? and pretend they have tickets?

Martyn

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David Fairweather
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Post by David Fairweather »

I've never bothered to pretend to have a ticket for the dart.

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RichA
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Post by RichA »

Mr Farmer! :p

I don't mean to sound exclusive, and totally agree we will need to adapt to suit a ever more crowded country. My point was that if more paddlers are around, more environmental damge will occur. However, after being reminded of the idea that if 100% access were allowed, paddlers would be spread few and far between thereby actually lessening the problem, I may change my views about that.

As for the ins and outs of the Spean Gorge verge, I don't know! All I do know is it's a sensitive issue with him. Whether or not it's his verge or not, should we all try to help the issue along by parking/changing elsewhere?

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Post by Poke »

RichA wrote:As for the ins and outs of the Spean Gorge verge, I don't know! All I do know is it's a sensitive issue with him. Whether or not it's his verge or not, should we all try to help the issue along by parking/changing elsewhere?
Going somewhat off topic, but there is a large area 200m downstream of that guys house (spean gorge), which (if the gate is open) has a large expanse of space for parking, and doesn't involve clambering up the steep bank.. Any problems using this?
Uniyaker - Uni expeditions
Team Pyranha - My adventures

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neilfarmer
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Post by neilfarmer »

RichA wrote: Mr Farmer! :p .... My point was that if more paddlers are around, more environmental damge will occur. However, after being reminded of the idea that if 100% access were allowed, paddlers would be spread few and far between thereby actually lessening the problem, I may change my views about that.
I think that is the case, in Scotland, I very infrequently meet other paddlers. There is and always will be, conflict on the 'easier grade rivers', that is where most people want to go. Take hillwalking as an example, after 'countless' hillwalkers walking up hills like Scafell/Snowdon, they have built paths for the people to walk up! Why should it be any different for kayakers? If there is an environmental issue, it should be dealt with. Build access points.
RichA wrote: As for the ins and outs of the Spean Gorge verge, I don't know! All I do know is it's a sensitive issue with him. Whether or not it's his verge or not, should we all try to help the issue along by parking/changing elsewhere?
As poke said, there is a place downstream, the SCA have suggested it for a long while now, no-one uses it. Why? Because the convenient access/egress point is at the end of the gorge. Should we work with him? Yes. But you can only negotiate with someone that talks to you! The principle is that 'you have the right to ..... ", "... and the responsibility to......". There are a lot of people who still think that their 'house and land about it is their castle'. That is not acceptable. I am not referring that last coment to him specifically (I know little of the technical 'ins and outs of that situation').
Neil Farmer.

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Post by mharrall »

imagine the Dart loop at a weekend if there were no limits on the number of people allowed to paddle.

But if we had free access to all rivers this problem would not occur because you could paddle anywhere you wanted too.
I do take your point Chas, honestly I do, but my argument is that there are already plenty of other rivers in the south west which can be paddled but just aren't to any great degree because it's harder to park, or water levels are less reliable or whatever. The Dart is so too accessible for its own good. If numbers weren't limited, I believe that it would become ridiculously overcrowded.

Martin

Biddy

span man

Post by Biddy »

As i understand it he works at the Hydro dam outlet at the spean get out.

I was there this april and a tree had blocked the path, he came out and helped us to get around the tree. He then explained that the chap who used to look after the get out path has passed away, so there was nobody to move the tree or keep the path in good order, so asked me to contact the SCa about this. He wasn't exactly over the moon that we were there but he was quite pleasent about it.

He was pretty happy with us as we were just a small group of 4, I think his issue is with large groups getting changed (e.g clubs) within view of his house and making unnescesary noise. (I've been there with bigger groups and got an earfull off him). If I lived there I'd probably be hacked off with the numbers of paddlers in the tranquility of my 'castle'.

I think we should have a code of conduct of some sort and it may help to placate people like the infamous spean man, however I don't think it will work completely because of things like the Stanley embankment ATS garage being blocked by paddlers cars, which has now led to them being clamped regularly.

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neilfarmer
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Post by neilfarmer »

We do have a 'code of conduct'
here on the SCA site

Also go here and download the leaflet "AccessLeaflet3.pdf"
Neil Farmer.

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