Paddle Canada has established guidelines for No Trace Camping. No trace behaviour is especially important while camping in bear country, where you need to avoid any contact with bears for your own safety - and the bears'. By following the no trace guidelines, you will reduce the chances of encountering bears.
- A good rule is to leave your campsite cleaner than the way you found it. Therefore, if you carried it in, carry it out. When packing for your trip include a number of garbage bags for this purpose.
- Keep your campsite clean and put everything, i.e., utensils, food items, cleaning supplies, personal toiletries away when not in use (1).
- Do not bring cosmetics that emit strong fragrances and do not keep products like perfumes, deodorants and toothpaste in your tent (1).
- Do not cook, eat or store food in your tent. Do not burn food scraps or fat in an open fire (1)
- Store food and unwashed utensils in airtight storage containers to minimize odors (1).
- Suspend food and the clothing wear while you cook out of the reach of a bear - at least four meters (15 ft.) off the ground in between two trees and well away from your campsite (1).
- Dispose of dishwater at least 50 metres (165 ft) away from the river and your campsite your campsite - the dishwater may attract bears (1).
- Stick to the "no trace" rule while snacking during the day and pack your apple cores out. Though compost-able, apple cores are not part of this ecosystem.
Tip: Burn/wash out and crush tins and foil to remove food odors - then pack them out. Pack a number of empty garbage bags to carry out your waste.
One of the most important tools to pack for your trip is a trowel or small shovel (like those used by gardeners for planting). The Manigotagan canoe route has many different types of washroom facilities, the "green toilets" being the most luxurious. These are portable, open-air outhouses made out of plastic. As much as possible, please use these in order to keep wastes contained to few locations. However, often you just have to go where no one has gone before. When nature is calling remember the Park rules
- Pick a spot at least 50 metres (165 feet) from water, campsites, and trails;
- Dig a hole up at least 15 centimetres (6 inches) deep;
- Only one hole per party;
- Cover and disguise the hole when finished;
- Use toilet paper sparingly and use only plain, white, non-perfumed, biodegradable brands (1,2);
- After use, bury the toilet paper to aid decomposition - or pack it out.
Unless toilet paper is buried it takes a long time to decompose and makes your favorite spots very unsightly (see toilet paper picture).
Proper disposal of human waste is important, as it avoids pollution of water sources, avoids negative implications to others who may find it, minimizes the possibility of spreading disease, and maximizes the rate of decomposition.
Figure: Toilet Paper stays around for a long time. Photo by R. Thiessen
Figure: "Green toilet" along the Manigotagan River. Photo by A. Kirch.
Tip: Pack a "toilet bag" (an old purse works well) with the small shovel, toilet paper inside a zipped up plastic bag (to keep it dry), and a good lighter.
Never wash dishes directly in the stream. There might be fellow paddlers downstream extracting drinking water as you add your soaps and suds. Pack a container that holds enough water to wash your dishes. When you are finished, spread the dishwater on-land, at least 50 metres (165 ft) away from the water. Use bio-degradable soaps only. We provide a sample list of outfitters where you can buy the necessary products on our main page.
Tip: Pack biodegradable soap and a collapsible container that holds enough water to wash your dishes.
Never lather up with soap and then jump into the river! While this sounds very enticing, imagine filling up your water bottle with this water afterwards. A plastic bag full of water goes a long way to rinse off your suds while you stand on-land, at least 50 metres (165 ft) away from the water.
There are 4 River Stewards looking after the Manigotagan and the Bloodvein Rivers. They look after the campsites, keep the portage trails open and provide some firewood. The cut wood is deposited by the campsites for your convenience. Please use this wood sparingly and keep fires small (see following section: How to Prevent Forest Fires).
Be aware of current fire hazard conditions. In case that there is no wood at your campsite, you may collect dead wood from the ground. Do not cut down live trees!
Forest Fire Season is April to October, so you will usually be paddling during this time. The following gives some advice on how to prevent forest fires and how to stay safe during forest fire season. For more information, check the section on Forest Fires.
Before starting on your trip:
For your own safety, make sure you know the current forest fire situation (outlining the general fire status in the province), the Fire Situation Report (a numerical table outlining the number of fires, their status and the personnel and equipment being used to battle the fires), weather forecast, and fire hazard map.
While in the wilderness (1):
- avoid building fires on days of low humidity and high temperature
- build fires in existing fire pits and away from trees and dry bushes
- never leave a fire unattended
- always make sure a fire is completely put out before leaving
- if you see a fire, report it: 1-800-782-0076
Take all necessary precautions to avoid conflicts with wildlife: never feed wildlife, store your food in a way that is "animal smart" (See bear safety), and keep your distance. Consider taking binoculars and good zoom lenses if you wish to observe and photograph the beautiful wildlife in this area.
Fishing is permitted on the Manigotagan River as long as you have a valid Manitoba Fishing License, and follow the rules and regulations associated with this license. More information on this topic is under in the Fishingsection.
- Do not clean fish at the campsite - NEVER leave fish remains at a campsite as they may attract bears!
- Leave fish remains on a secluded rock for the birds to clean up, or dispose of in DEEP water.
Never dump chemicals, solid or liquid. If you can carry it in, you can carry it out!
Do not build any furniture or other structures.
1) Manitoba Conservation. Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch. Problem Wildlife. http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wildlife/problem_wildlife/bbear_rules.html) - Accessed 12/2006
2) The Camping Source. http://www.thecampingsource.com. Accessed 19/10/2006