Over this winter, the ABR Executive Committee will be preparing to "reach out" to the public in 2009 to increase the public's awareness of the need to reduce their impact on the backcountry of Algonquin.
We'll be looking at car-stickers, canoe-stickers, bulletin-board posters, 2009 newsletter, and brochures. Please help us out with your ideas .. about the messages, the images, the methods, the media.
We're dealing with topics such as ...
No to Nails .. Yes To Bungees
Leave Fireworks At Home
Fire Pit Safety
Cleanliness At Camp
Bottle and Can Ban
The more ideas, the better. Feel free to share ideas and even images!
My thoughts are the 'weekend warriors' who don't use the park on a regular basis would be less educated about the rules and regulations than regular users of the park.
Perhaps some of the rental companies like Algonquin Outfitters would be interested in putting a sticker on their rental fleet of canoes? This would be visable to others as well throughout the entire park.
Mark S. (no login) 188.8.131.52
Re: Ways to educate the public ???
December 5 2008, 7:40 PM
Good idea MikE. As well as 'preaching to the converted', getting the rental companies to hand out info. brochures, ABR newsletter, etc., to the weekend warrior types would be great.
We should make a point of asking the rental companies if they would be agreeable to that suggestion for the
upcoming canoeing and hiking season.
It seems to me the additional stress on APP comes from the three main sources, many more of course. Just a few ideas.
1. weekenders or day use that get into the park from outside access, not park gates but sneak in, in effect (I was told this occurs at Craig's creek area in N/west side, I'm sure it is fairly common). not sure how to manage that without large intervention, but seems a worthy challenge, even though the tainting of the park is peripheral
2. reduce use by a moratorium on site development. I can't believe how every version of the map creates more and more triagular strangulation on bigger lakes, North tea is my best exmple - the shores are now just thick with sites it seems. are economcs driving this proliferation, both park and outfitters? I mean it is very hard to book a site in much of Killarney,and I hope it stays that way. pushing for less development seems wise. someone has to tell OntParks to not kill the golden goose by turning it into a zoo
3. is damage to the interior prevalent? in what way? I don't find that much garbage but education on site protection would be good - not stripping the sites, using the t-box, protecting live trees, better than you left it, etc. hard to do that effectively I'm sure. I don't remember anything like that in the park paper though and your best audience is the concerned but uneducated (the unconcerned will always be a problem).
- Mark S's suggestion of doing more education thru the outfitters seems like a perfect angle too - they are most always concerned and caring poeple, and have vested interest in it too.
Formerly Foxco (no login) 184.108.40.206
Re: Ways to educate the public ???
December 7 2008, 12:31 PM
Maybe some public education at some of the busier access points, in the form of a nice, hard-to-ignore static display at, say the Canoe Lake permit office.
The Visitor Centre draws a large amount of people, some of whom are trippers or are thinking about becoming trippers. Some sort of display there as well might help.
(no login) 220.127.116.11
ways to educate the public
December 9 2008, 7:39 PM
How bout putting a reference for a few good knots on the the reverse of the permits like a quick reference guide. clove hitch, bowline, constrictor, round and two hitches you know. Maybe help to deter the nails? Just a thought
Another one, you could run around with a sasquatch costume and look for the dirtiest campsite then run through it at dusk screaming and snarling! oh soory my outside voice came out. I was serious about the knots though.
keep up the good work everyone
Anonymous Poster (no login) 18.104.22.168
Campaign to Leave No Trace - Tree Carvings
December 12 2008, 9:50 AM
I would focus on educating folks on not to carve names, etc... into trees.
These photos were taken in July '07 at a campsite on Tom Thompson Lake. Each letter was appoximately 3/4" - 1.5" wide and 3-4" long. The damage was no more than a day old. We replaced the bark material found at the base of the tree, and covered the bark with dirt and duff to blend in the replaced bark and cover the sap. Several other trees were damaged as well. The campsite was littered with garbage and beer cans.
Our Scout group cleaned up the site and flagged down a boat with Park Wardens and trail cleanup personnel. He viewed the site, including the Trees and took the beer cans. He also checked our permits as we had more than 9 on the site. (We had visiting scouts from down the lake - same Troop).
I visited the repaired tree in May '08 and 90%+ of the bark was still intact and was adhering.
Great work on the "patch job" on the tree. I never thought you'd be able to reverse such damage. No Google results for 'ICCYCC'.
I like Foxco's idea about putting this kind of information in public places. I think a lot of trippers, new and old, sometimes just don't think of the repercussions of these sorts of actions simply because they can't relate to them on a personal level. When someone goes to the Visitor's center or similar, they obviously have enough interest in the park to want to learn a bit more (or it could just be a rainy day, but ignoring that variation in attendence). These are the best people to be targeted since they show an aptitude and desire to learn more.
If I could make any suggestion, I would say that publications and so on won't be effective if they're simply a list of rules/suggestions. Even complimented with verbal reasoning, the message may not get across as well as a first-hand story like the one given above. A captivating publication (in my opinion) gives a "thesis" of some sort, some arguments, and then an example. For those in suitable workplaces, contrast this to WHIMS training: we see the same symbols, the same warnings, time and time again, but it's not nearly as interesting as when the presenter gives personal stories, experiences, etc. of the dangers and incidents they've encountered. Not to get caught up in formalism, I think the first two are covered: the publications I've seen lay out the problem and justification just fine. I guess what I'm visualizing is a closing bit that a tripper can relate to. A dialogue such as:
An anonymous poster writes in to the ABR:
It would likely be more costly to include before-and-after photos of the tree, but I do think it would also be more effective. It impressed me when I saw the difference between the two pictures!
My bit about the "Anonymous poster writing to ABR" contained some dialogue in brackets.
What I meant to say as my example:
"An anonymous poster writes to the ABR: (include an excerpt from the above story)"
Ian Elford (no login) 22.214.171.124
Pictures tell a thousand words
December 12 2008, 12:13 PM
Posters in the permit office and on the park web site showing pictures of horror scenarios would be powerfull.
Things like disfigured trees, and garbage piles, with a heading of "Don't be responsible for this" or something along those lines would have impact on many.
(no login) 126.96.36.199
December 13 2008, 7:08 PM
The Tree is located on the campsite immediately to the left of the opening to Bartlett Lake. If you land left of the submerged stumps and proceed down the camp path, the tree is located on the right side of the "T" as the campsite opens up and another path opens to the creek.
Tree |* at asterisk.
The damage, best I could determine happened between July 24 and the morning of the 26,2007 as the sap was ultra clear and running. The underlying cambium was still lightly dry and pliable. We arrived late in the afternoon on the 26th and reported it to the Warden that same day. Not sure if they took the time to track anyone down.
I wish I had a camera this past spring to record the healing process. I think it's still too soon for the wounds to callus over.
If anyone is on the site and can find the Tree, take a picture of it and post it. I may be in the area again in July leading another scout trip. If I am, I'll take a picture and post it.
I did a Google search as well when I got back and found no hits. I like the idea of posting the picture with whatever the Park/Ontario fine/jail time is for things like this.
To wrap up, educating people not to carve into trees or hack them with hatchets or saws would worth the time and effort.
(no login) 188.8.131.52
whatever happened to common sense
December 14 2008, 6:40 PM
this one we just have to educate people how to fix the tree as this Scouter did. I really dont you can fix people, some people just do stupid things no matter what the rules. Sad really, depressing and a shame. Guess you could put it on the back of the permit with my knot reference to prevent nail damage, and the rules. Permits are getting bigger. LOL
Good Job Scouter Carl
former 45th Kitchener Scouts
Anonymous Poster (no login) 184.108.40.206
Educating the Public
December 25 2008, 11:34 AM
Some other thoughts...
Barry, you mentioned in the Behaviour Mod thread your education example. Would it be possible to run a backcountry etiquette slideshow at the Algonquin amphitheater once a week? Maybe ABR creates the slideshow deck - maybe with voiceover and it runs prior to the main presentation.
Also, the Leave No Trace organizations: http://www.lnt.org and http://www.leavenotrace.ca have plastic ethics cards that could be distributed by members of ABR. (leavenotrace.ca is still working on their "store" so information on teaching material will be found on the lnt.org site)
From the LNT.org site:
Plastic Ethics Reference Cards
"3x5 hang tags explaining the seven Leave No Trace principles. Now seven versions from left to right in the picture: Fishing (white with Blue), Heritage information for cultural sites (tan with burgundy), Hunter (blaze orange), River (tan with blue), Kids (bright yellow), Standard (tan with black), or Front Country (white with green)."
ABR could, as an organization, request a training grant from LNT (http://www.lnt.org/programs/toolsforteaching.php) to obtain say 1,200 "Standard" Reference Cards (.25/card) as program "seed" cards. Strong plastic loops or rope could be tied thru the opening and placed on the outside of a person's canoe pack or backpack via a pack attachment point - grommet or ring - to ensure better visiblity and increase the possiblilty of someone reading the card.
The thought would be that cards could be given by ABR to the permit people at the Access point to folks that they "think" need them. I know this is subjective and "elitist" but it's a quick thought. Another idea would be to sent them to the Park HQ or Access points and by presenting an ABR membership card (could be sent electronically) to the attendant or Ranger, they would disperse say 10 cards for use in the park. (That way the Park has some skin in the game as well) The ABR folks could give them to folks they deem "in need" of education. ABR folks don't need to put themslves out, but if members wanted to particpate, they could. This would take some planning and agreement with the park. I present it as a thought starter.
To expand their "awareness" of backcountry etiquette, ABR could place a small sticker with the ABR "logo" and www.abrweb.ca URL around the bottom of the sticker to direct folks to this site - the sticker could be placed on the card that is handed out.
Additional cards could be obtained by soliciting donations from local outfitters.
Also Outfitters could attach a card on packs or stickers on canoes (inside and out).
I like the idea of having everyone in the party sign a backcountry etiquette statement that would be part of the permit - that way everyone in the party has skin in the game, so to speak, and that the permit hold is not the one holding the bag.
I would suggest looping messages on the park radio as well.
This may sound silly but if you dont mind humouring me lets take portage take outs first. Why is it that people block the way and clutter up the portages?
Thnaks I am getting somewhere with this
Sunfish (no login) 220.127.116.11
Re: Ways to educate the public ???
December 27 2008, 8:57 PM
I really like those coloured plastic cards. The only problem with brochures etc. is when given directly to people is that they have a tendency to burn them or throw them out. This makes it very expensive for those producing the materials. Maybe an idea would be to have the backcountry cards in plastic fixed somehow at each of the campsites? (i.e using a small chain to rope around a tree (loosly or something such as that at the campsite marker. Everyone using a campsite would get the benefit of the information and folks wouldn't have to carry them in, loose them in the car, leave them at home etc.
Another idea is although potentialy expensive would be to create playing cards with backcountry pictures, messages etc on them. Everyone I know who camps always has at least one deck of cards with them and this would be an excellent way to get several messages out. I know I would LOVE a deck of cards such as this (even though I am already one of the converted .
Kids are an excellent target audience. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada had a great colouring book on protecting fish habitat that was extremely popular. Maybe a backcountry colouring book could be created.
DFO also has made reusable shopping bags with messaging..complicated..but another interesting idea.
I think the trick is to find ways of messaging that are useful and won't end up in the trash.
This is a bit off topic, but maybe some ideas for the future
The ABR Executive Committee examined the Leave No Trace program early in 2007 and came to the conclusion that its educational scope was too broad for the ABR to effectively adopt. The ABR is primarily concerned with educating the camping public about those issues which are specific to Algonquin's backcountry.
The Leave No Trace movement promotes a broad range of 'wilderness' practices and ethics which the ABR does appreciate. Algonquin is a Natural Environment park with 'wilderness-like' qualities, it is being impacted by some abusive users who show little inclination to follow the park's rules. The ABR feels that efforts to impress the broad principals of an international discipline on this element of the park's users wouldn't have much of an effect. Rather, we believe that by concentrating our educational efforts on problems specific to the Algonquin backcountry, we can have more success in improving these particular users' behavior.
At the beginning of 2008, the ABR and park management discussed both our own "Reduce Our Impact" initiative and the "Leave No Trace" program. We were informed that the general Leave No Trace concept was being examined by Ontario Parks .. toward possibly developing an educational program tailored to the Ontario parks system. However, over the course of this year, no progress in this has been conveyed to the ABR.
Given the ABR's limited capacity, we have decided to focus on problems specific to the Algonquin backcountry.
After throwing out some ideas and reading others ideas I contemplated how do you really get the message out or messages? Its a daunting task really due to the amount of people who use the park and from so many different access points. Then thinking about it spurred a map mission at the kitchen table with my oldest daughter (4). She is showing me how to use a map and compass when she pulls out the Killarney books. The Hiking guide and the canoe routes guide. So I leaf through it and in those pages are all the messages that we have been trying to figure out how to get to the people.
Then it dawns on me, although there are many books about Algonquin, its history and routes there is not a book or guide like this one.
It touches on camping, portaging, orienattion, knots, the history of the various lakes and my favorite section is the origins of the names of the lakes etc.
If you have never seen it grab a copy
Rory (no login) 18.104.22.168
Re: Ways to educate the public ???
May 8 2009, 10:48 PM
Barry, I was reading the "camping etiquette" thread when an idea popped into my head. Then I read this one, and it seems several people were on the same course with my idea back in December. I have not contacted him, and I think he's camped at Craig Lake right now, but would it be possible to put information about proper etiquette on the back of Jeffrey M's map? I read that Algonquin Outfitters is going to be selling them this season. Maps are typically not discarded in the Park. Could future versions of the map and/or map book have such extra information included?
What a nice coincidence! If such a modification leads to even a few people lessening their impact on the Park, I will be ecstatic!
Rory MacKay (no login) 22.214.171.124
reverse of Canoe Routes Map
June 17 2009, 8:30 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think there has always been information on camping etc on the reverse of the sometimes maligned Algonquin Park Canoe Routes Map. Perhaps by working with the Friends of Algonquin Park you can modify that text. I suspect it may be still read or glanced at by the new canoeists. I doubt you can change the ways of the ones with long established bad habits.
Rory MacKay (not the same one as elsewhere in this series of posts)