Environmental Impacts

i have to do a project on kayaking as an adventure tourism activity and figured you guys/gals may be able to help answer a few questions:

  1. what sort of environmental impacts does kayaking produce( present, and future)
  2. where do you guys see kayaking going as an adventure tourism activity ie: extended trips, risk taking trips, wildlife viewing trips etc.)

    Your help would be appreciated


environmental impacts
and or any contacts/links that may provide info.


Google is your friend …

1)kayaking helps clean up the environment because i always come back with atleast 3 beer cans.

1. “Environmental impact” - We pee in the water. In cold weather we honk in the water. In warm weather our sweat drips in the water

2. “Extended trips, risk taking trips, Wildlife viewing trips” - Been there, done that all over the place and hope to do much more.



complex questions
and me thinks that most Pnetters will prudently speak more for themselves than the whole ‘culture’ or ‘industry’ if you will…

sea kayakers have an impact like anyone else in driving to destinations, in camping on sites or in wilderness areas, and in passing waste, etc: just like hikers, canoeists, etc. also, the making of sea kayaks must have an impact in that they are mostly petroleum derived materials.

what that impact is, how it is measured and compared to what, is for the scientists in our esteemed institutions- like yourself!

bet that wasn’t very helpful was it?

I hauled out a sack of trash from the local reservoir yesterday, but I burned gasoline to get there and back… and I peed a couple times. You s’pose that’s about an even trade?

The environmental impact of kayaking is interesting .An environmental impact can be a

simi-formal study , of a certain act , such as building a house , on the environment.

It can take a lot of different forms , historical , social , scientific ,economic , ect. .

Kayaking can be seen in a lot of these contexts .Its related to old eskimo or such peoples

way of life .Its a social and economic activity for a lot of people .And the scientific impact,

that’s not easy to answer .Some materials such as fiberglass are thought to add to pollution

if sunk in a lake .Other composites may contain some harmful chemicals that could be

released into the water . What plastic kayaks may contain , I don’t know , but suspect it

could be harmful as well .

Taking a piss in a lake is not great for it , yet it should not ruin it . Using a boat that may

contain some harmful chemicals or minerals may do more harm .Fiberglass boats have

been around for a while , and I did read a study that found lakes with a good amount of

sunk boats had a good amount of some kind of pollution .John

Morning guy…
I just finished my first cup of java.

It’s a little too wet to ride that new (not so new now) bike to work today!



Impact on the Environment
A good resource for environmental impacts of any type would be your local riverkeeper.

Stay safe on the water,



– Last Updated: Oct-11-05 9:17 AM EST –

At first it was a bit of a subtle impact that I was not quite aware of...kayaks let us poke around the shorelines... coastal,estuaries, lakes and bogs etc.
In a way we are invading areas that were, for the most part, largely undistrubed.
We are able to reach areas that even the dreaded jetski cannot reach.
So while our intentions are benign we do have an impact.
I'm sure you will find readily available info on the subject.
For myself, I find it difficult not to go in for a closer look, as I have in the past.
I would say there is a definite learning curve
in this area.
Loons, for example, would be a high profile species that most people would be aware of.

dont forget
the environmental impacts of making canoes/kayaks.

Plastic (even recylced), Composite, Wood, Metal, Cloth, etc.

Human Impacts
Humans as well as animals have always and will always impact the environment. The earth will always make adjustments to these impacts. Indians had a long history of starting fires to improve game habitat. That was an impact. Was it a negative? For pine beetles I’m sure it was. For the woodpeckers eating those beetles it probably was. For elk and deer it was a plus.

While snorkling I once saw a small fish using a beer can to hide out in. He might have found that to be an advantage to him. To me it was an eye sore. I left it though because I didn’t want to disturb him.

In Idaho, the Salmon River has lost much of it’s nutrients because the downriver dams have killed off most of the Salmon Run. Without the decaying bodies zooplankton suffer. The fisheries then suffers for that. Human waste entering the river would actually improve the fisheries there. Wouldn’t do much for anyone wanting to take a drink though.

Thought I’d just add a few thoughts.

I’ve been known to drive my small car an hour and a half each way for a day paddle, but others drive trucks pulling large power boats for the same purpose. They’re more likely to spill gasoline in the water when filling up (because we have nothing to fill up), and generally less likely to pick up trash. This isn’t true of all of them, but my observations.

Still, I could leave my house on a bicycle and go for a long ride and have much less environmental impact, even though kayaking itself is a “clean” activity. Like it was brought up, it takes petroleum products to make kayaks, get them to the stores (from my case across the Atlantic), and then what happens to them many years from now? Fiberglass and carbon fiber aren’t biodegradeable.

We may have a major adverse impact
on the environment. When I paddle, the turtles jump from the logs into the water and the herons fly away. Seriously, I feel a little guilty displacing these fellow creatures and I don’t know what psychological effects it has on them.

Maybe I should bring a critter to that TV show “Animal Psychic” so the hostess can read their minds and let me know if I am upsetting any ecological balance.

The impact of kayaking depends on how closely one wants to focus on the “picture”. In a small picture micro sense a kayaker makes a positive impact in the sense that most that I’ve come across are sensitive to their immediate personal impact, practice the low-impact or leave-no-trace camping ethic. They also often come back from a paddle with whatever trash they come across and can stash on or in their boats. Paddlers are usually a pretty visible presence at clean-up days on rivers, lakes and shorelines and paddle groups often “adopt” their favorite waterways and maintain them through the year. Kayakers and kayaks do not emit exhaust on the water and are relatively quiet and unobtrusive.

However, there is the macro view which includes getting to and from the water (take a look at your local launch site, how many SUV’s and trucks with racks and boats do you see versus compact hybrids with racks?) and the manufacturing of the boats. Some manufacturers are starting to take into account the toll that their materials and manufacturing methods take on the environment. Whether or not it becomes a significant factor in terms of marketing and sales and such is up to us as the consumer. A lot of plastic boat manufacturers are reclaiming wasted plastic and recylcing it back into their boats. I don’t know who is using post consumer waste material in the boats but that would be interesting to know (anyone out there have any links or leads?). There is also the one percent for the planet campaign (Jack Johnson and Patagonia come to mind) but I do not know if any kayak manufacturers have embraced it yet.

There is also the issue of eco-tourism’s impact on destinations. If a company is situated in, oh say, the Amazon and uses imported goods and labor they are doing little for the local economy and communities that they coexist with and within. If they are using local guides and instructors or putting profits into conservation and sustainable development then that would affect their impact…

So, there is ample fodder for multiple theses and disertations. I feel like my response is painfully incomplete and probably misses a multitude of factors and aspects of the issue, but with limited time and space here I don’t think anyone could cover it all. It is certainly something I’ve thought about while paddling my favorite spots and discussed around numerous campfires (aha, another impact!) and have barely scratched the surface.

I’m sure there are many on these boards that would be interested in following this thread or would have a wealth of information on the matter.

Hey Jack
It’s still wet down here in the Piedmont. Maybe tomorrow after work I can take the Land Shark out for a spin.

Speaking of sharks… I’m hearing that a 9 foot shark was netted in the sound just off Harker’s Island. I was just paddling there!

Hope you all are doing well.