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Leave No Trace - River Corridors
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The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace are:

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Learn about river-specific issues, regulations and permits.
  • Use a river guidebook and map to plan your trip.
  • Schedule your trip so that you encounter appropriate river flows for your groups ability.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use; visit in small groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Know river skills and carry the necessary equipment to minimize your impact.

More information on Plan Ahead and Prepare

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable Surfaces include rock, gravel, and sand.
  • Focus activity where vegetation is absent.
  • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
  • Select a campsite large enough for your group.
  • When on day hikes in the river corridor, walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when muddy.
  • In pristine areas, disperse use to prevent creation of new campsites and trails.
  • Leave campsites clean and natural looking.

More information on Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Use a washable, reusable toilet or other approved method to pack out human waste, toilet paper and tampons. Check local regulations.
  • Liquid wastes can be dumped into main current in many high volume (over 500 cfs) rivers. In low volume rivers, scatter liquid waste 200 ft. from water, away from camp and trails. Check local regulations.
  • Urinating directly into the river is often the best option. Check local regulations.
  • Use a tarp in the kitchen to catch food and trash, which attract unwanted animals.
  • Pack out all small food particles and small pieces of trash.

More information on Dispose of Waste Properly

Leave What You Find

  • Appreciate ancient structures, artifacts, rock art and other natural objects, but leave them undisturbed.
  • Do not build structures or dig trenches in campsites.
  • Avoid introducing non-native species, including live bait, by cleaning equipment between trips.

More information on Leave What You Find

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Minimize campfire impacts by using stoves.
  • Use a fire pan or designated fire ring for open fires and charcoal.
  • Elevate fire pan and use a fire blanket to catch embers.
  • Use dead and downed wood no larger than an adult’s wrist to keep the fire small.
  • Consider bringing your own firewood or charcoal.
  • Burn all wood and charcoal to ash. Carry out ash with other garbage.

More information on Minimize Campfire Impacts

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed wildlife; damages their health; alters natural behavior and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife by storing food and trash securely.
  • Control pets or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting or when food is scarce.

More information on Respect Wildlife 

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Communicate with other river visitors about your floating and camping plans.
  • Leave larger camps for larger groups.
  • Avoid camping or eating near major rapids where scouting and portaging take place.
  • Non-motorized crafts usually have right-of-way over powerboats; slower boats should keep to the right.
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail.

More information on Be Considerate of Other Visitors

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The 40th Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race

ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling, stewardship support to help protect paddling environments, and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation.

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