29. November 2012 20:33
The fifth Leave No Trace (LNT) principle is Minimize Campfire Impacts. This principle is important when it comes to protecting the environment; many forest fires are started in the summer when campers don’t control fires appropriately and in many areas the appearance has been degraded because of the increasing demand for firewood. [More]
6. November 2012 19:12
Today we will be going over the fourth Leave No Trace Principle: Leave What You Find. While this principle may seem like an easy one to adopt, actually putting this into practice can be more difficult than one would think. All too often we pick something up that looks unique or cool and after a little while, it ends up in a box or tossed in the trash. Although this happens all too often, it’s these little things that are slowly changing the wilderness for the worse. [More]
18. October 2012 21:44
I had the opportunity to go to Leavenworth this past weekend with some of my more experienced climbing friends for a personal climbing trip. Although it felt a little intimidating to go with people who are way better than I am, I had been asking for months to go on a climbing trip with them, and was not going to pass up the opportunity. [More]
16. October 2012 21:35
The third Leave No Trace (LNT) principle is Dispose of Waste Properly. Disposing of waste properly is all about a simple idea, pack it in - pack it out. If you carry something in with you, it should come back out with you as well. Usually when people do not follow this principle the most obvious signs are trash and debris. However, many people do not consider the effects human waste, food debris, or water contamination can have for years to come. [More]
9. October 2012 21:49
As expected, the sunset paddle was amazing! Talk about a perfect evening for a paddle, temp in the mid-70, not a cloud in the sky and the river basically to ourselves. [More]
28. June 2012 19:14
Today I decided to take a look at my environmental impact, also known as my ‘ecological footprint.’ There are several sites that measure your ecological footprint. I used the site linked to the Wellbeing page, www.myfootprint.org. The questions were easy to answer and for the few I didn’t know off the top of my head I used the national average, which was provided by the site.
I learned that if every single person on Earth lived the same way that I do, we would use up 4.1 Earths! To be honest I was pretty shocked. I have become known to my friends as the eco-friendly fanatic and although I know that I am not perfect when it comes to being eco-conscious I do make a very strong effort. According to the website the average U.S. citizen leaves a footprint of 246.41 global acres. My consumption level was only 159.27 global acres. If my consumption was over 4 Earths this means that in reality U.S. citizens are living completely unsustainable lives that could consume over 6 Earths! [More]
29. May 2012 22:52
Eating with the Seasons is a practice that many people are turning to. As more people learn about the downfalls of conventional food production, they are naturally turning toward organic and local food options. One of the best ways to eat that is better for you and for the environment is to eat with the seasons. The term Eating with the Seasons means that you are purposefully purchasing and consuming produce that is ripe at that time of the year. For example, in the spring you would not be eating potatoes (a fall vegetable), but eating leafy greens (a spring crop) instead.
There are multiple benefits of Eating with the Seasons including environmental, health and economical.
Environment – Foods are not flown in from all over the globe so that we can have any fruit or veggie all year round. This means what you eat uses less energy and gasoline to get to you. Food that is out of season can be damaging because it has will need to have more chemicals applied to it to ensure freshness. There are significant effects from chemical runoff from agricultural land.
Health – The commitment to eat with the seasons is one that will benefit your health greatly. You will be getting the nutrients that your body wants at that time of the year. For example, in the winter when you naturally want heavier meals you will be eating heavier veggies such as carrots, squash and other roots. Another plus is that because eating with the seasons also implies eating locally, your food will be fresher and therefore have the highest nutritional content possible.
Economic – Produce that is in season will cost less at the grocery store because it does not have to be preserved or shipped in from a location where it might be in season. This is a nice break on your wallet.
I challenge you to explore what eating with the seasons looks like in the area where you live and then give it a go. You might just find that your body has been craving that food all along!
30. April 2012 16:16
Being an outdoor enthusiast, when I heard about the opportunity to get trained in outdoor leadership, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. Aside from my personal desires to gain more experience in the outdoors, I currently work for University Recreation (UREC) Marketing as an intern assigned to the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) team and figured gaining additional outdoor leadership experience will only help me become a better UREC employee. Outdoor Leadership Training is an 11-day course provided by the Outdoor Recreation Center to instruct participants how to lead a group into the wilderness through training in backpacking, kayaking and rock climbing.
This past Tuesday was the pre-trip orientation where trainers from the ORC provided all of the students with an overview of what will be taking place during the training. Not knowing any of the other students participating in the course, I was glad when the staff trainers started the meeting with an ice breaker for everyone to get to know each other. They gave us outdoor activity scenarios and asked us to express our “comfort level” with the scenario provided. This was a great way for each of us to see where we are comfortable and where we still need some development. It was reassuring to see other people have some of the same situational comforts as I did. Next, the staff provided guidance on some aspects of the training like Leave No Trace, how to properly pack a backpack for hiking and what to bring and not to bring on outdoor adventures. We finished things up on Tuesday with a tentative schedule of events for the duration of the course (subject to change depending on weather).
Being a leadership course, each of the students teaches several aspects of the course. I chose to provide a brief history of Granite Point, where we will be conducting the rock climbing portion of training; how to read a topographical map, since maps ar... [More]
13. April 2012 20:13
What is a Cataraft? – Catarafts, commonly referred to as cats, are a specific type of raft that is used for fishing, white-water rafting and floating. Catarafts were made popular by the Russians, who used them on crazy outdoor adventures. Cats fit less people then on a raft of similar size and there is less freedom to move around – you are confined to the chair all day on the river. However, they are commonly used as a fishing platform and are great for rafting over rougher water.
How does it work? – Unlike a raft, there is no rubber floor that is pushed by waves or gets sucked into holes. Instead, there is the frame in between two tubes. What this means for you as a boater, is that you will have a harder time flipping your raft. Cats can be designed for a number of different functions and many cat owners have designed their cat themselves.
When should I use it? – When you should choose a cataraft over a normal raft is going to be up to your personal preferences. Depending on the type of water you will be encountering, the number of people or gear you want to carry or even how long your trip is, will determine the type of boat you should use. I would recommend doing some personal research on what is out there.
Where can you get it? –The ORC has catarafts available for rent. We have 2 available, and it costs $108 to rent for the weekend!
6. April 2012 21:24
Hiking and camping is in my blood. After all, I am a gnome, and we gnomes LOVE spending time outdoors. There is nothing quite as rewarding as enjoying a meal cooked over a camp fire after an exhausting day of trekking and exploring! That being said, there is also nothing quite as saddening as waking up and finding that your food has been eaten by a bear during the night. Need to know how to avoid this tragedy? Two words: bear canister.
You may be surprised to hear that bears have a sense of smell 100x that of a dog’s. They will go to extraordinary measures to get food once the scent is locked in. Bears have been known to break out car windows to get food left in a vehicle, climb trees to it stored in bags, and sometimes even hurt themselves in the process. There is no getting between a bear and food, except a bear canister. In fact, many national parks such as Yosemite, have banned bear bagging (raising a bag of food in the air using a tree branch and rope) because it is seen as ineffective. The only approved method is bear canisters.
Bear canisters can be made from hard plastics, aluminum, and carbon fiber. They are extremely heavy duty so that bears cannot break into them. However, they are not air tight, so the smell of food can still get out of the canister. It is important to store the food canister 100 feet away from your campsite so if a bear does attempt to open it, they will not be disturbing you. Some people worry that the canisters will be a hassle to carry while they’re camping, but the extra 1.5-4lbs is definitely worth it. The canisters can also have a great carrying capacity. A 700in3 can hold up to a week worth of food for the average hiker.
Another important reason to use a bear canister is for the bear’s own protection. Once a bear tastes delicious human food, they always want more. They begin going to extreme measures to acquire the food and can become a threat to campers and hikers, at which point they need to ... [More]