Skills & Techniques

Raft Right this Summer

Susy Alkaitis - July 31, 2018

Boulder, Colorado: It’s another scorching summer, and that local lazy river is looking pretty nice right now. But before you head to the creek with your floats and your friends, here are a few things to keep in mind…

Map the route: Plan a route and locate a few existing, durable trails that lead to the water. By knowing the area, you can find exit routes that avoid stepping on creekside plants and further eroding stream banks. Check to see if you’re passing through residential areas or past busy trails, and keep the volume down along the way.

Gear up: Check your local waterway before heading out for the day. Some rivers are wide, deep, and supremely lethargic. Others are narrow, rocky and full of obstacles. You should always wear a life jacket and water shoes that won’t come off your feet, but know before you go whether you’ll need a helmet and a sturdy tube, too. Cheap dollar store rafts and tubes are best left at the swimming pool.

Plan for cans: If you’re bringing drinks, make sure you have a durable bag for trash—one that won’t rip when you use it. Leave glass bottles at home. You can be a river steward and pack out other people’s trash, too (including a few of those cheap dollar store rafts you may find snared on rocks and branches).

Don’t pee in the creek: It’s called a lazy river for a reason. Odds are, your river of choice doesn’t have enough flow, or isn’t deep enough, wide enough, or swift enough to disperse urine effectively. Additionally, it’s often against the rules and regulations to dispose of human waste in water sources. Avoid the temptation, and hike 200 feet from the water instead to relieve yourself.

Enjoy your world, and Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace’s Joe and Joe are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Taxa, and Klean Kanteen.


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