Monday, July 28, 2008

How Much
Too Much
of a
Good Thing?
To go camping used to be referred to as getting away from it all. It meant finding a quiet place where you saw few, if any, other people and pretty much had the place to yourself. There are still such places, many within a day's drive from where I now sit. Still, they seem to be getting further and further away. Paddlers and folks just wanting to set up a tent and relax now have to queue up to get a reservation for a campsite at our state parks. Once there, you will be encamped in a housing project with both sides of the roads lined with tents, trailers and houses on wheels. Last year, we sat at our humble camp site and watched the NFL football game on the huge TV at the site across the narrow road.

When there is the attraction of water, the congestion gets all the worse. I went to meet a friend in Chicago yesterday. We wanted to launch from one of the beaches and do a paddle on Lake Michigan. We did, but only after risking a parking ticket by illegally leaving our cars in the only spaces we could find. It was 7 a.m., and there were already thousands of folks on the beach.

It won't get better as more and more pleasure boaters, paddlers and fishermen compete for a piece of the water. It means, as well, that we will all have to be more mindful of what we are doing and find ways to coexist with one another. Or, we could drive north for 8 hours.

Paddle safe...


JohnB said...

Access, especially in urban areas, is a worsening issue, and it won't get much better. Which is one of the reasons that formal water trails are so important to the human powered boaters.

But, one does not really need to drive for 8 hours to find access. One of the problems is that closer areas get boring after awhile--same scenery just a different day.

Then there's the issue that where do we paddle to? Down and back, up and back, out and back. It does get boring. But, A bad day of paddling trumps a good day at the office.

Remember--Happiness is kayaking and a working spouse!

Silbs said...

Well put.