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Miscellaneous Thoughts

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by rcwild@wildernessmail.net, May 28, 2001.

  1. Here are a few of the issues discussed with canyoners in Europe. I found them interesting, so I am throwing them out for thought and/or discussion and/or pure entertainment.

    1. It was discovered that certain fish laid their eggs in the sand along the edges of streams in canyons. Canyoners walking through the streams stirred up and destroyed many of the eggs, effecting the reproduction rate of the fish. This reminded me of the impacts that climbers can have at crags during nesting seasons. Are there areas where there are or could be similar impacts in American canyons? If so, should we be proactive in helping to identify them? Pushing for voluntary closures during appropriate time periods?

    2. Some time back, there was a push for clean climbing in the Verdon in southern France. As a result, climbers cut back on the placement of bolts and began slinging the small bushes growing from the cracks in the walls. Subsequently, a group from the University of California undertook a study to determine the impacts on the vegetation. It was discovered that these small bushes were actually 1,000 year old bonzai trees. Climbers have since reverted to the use of bolts.

    3. Some very popular canyons in France have been closed to canyoning. In part due to complaints by fisherman; in part due to the volume of visitors and the number of accidents/rescues. In some other canyons, access is now limited to groups accompanied by at least one person who is certified at the level of Moniteur by the EFC (Ecole Francaise de Descent de Canyon) or similar organization. The word Moniteur means leader/guide, but not necessarily in the professional sense. The EFC is organized like a club and many people who are not professional guides are certified Moniteurs.

    Rich
  2. Some additional info/correction of a few items (most probably due to our poor English, sorry Rich !).

    Fish reproduction: it's right that especially in France there's a big battle going on between fishermen and canyoneers - you can compare it with the battles between hikers, horsemen and mountainbikers all "using" the same terrain but not willing to share it. Because canyoneers were hit over the head with all kinds of ecological arguments the EFC started/encouraged studies on the impact of our beloved sport on the environment. What's clear so far is that no reliable study has been able to prove so far what the exact consequences are, and more importantly, no complete study can prove that canyoning has bad effects on the canyon environment. The first really scientific study (taking into account all related parameters etc etc) will probably kick off this year and in itself will take at least a few years just to gather all the data. An unbiased water biologist told me that he suspected the effects would be far less then previously thought. In Europe's streams the reproduction cycle of trout is between november and march (depending on water temp). These prime fishermens targets lay their eggs in the gravelbanks at the edges of the stream (not on the bottom, but on the banked edges). Walking in these "roosteries" during this period can cause damage, not only to the eggs but to the banks themselves as well. This is because they are in fine hydrological balance with the water current and even a small change to them (like trampling them in a spot) might cause them to be completely swept away and be formed somewhere else.

    To poke up the bolt/no bolt issue even a bit further: bolting is not even considered in these ecological and scientific debates because not relative to the subject...

    Bonzai trees in the Verdon: it apparently took a Californian university study to find out that some trees on the Verdon walls were, in fact, these 1000 year old bonzai trees. The guy who told me the story didn't say the climbers are still using them or if they went on to bolt the mountains to a pulp after this discovery. In the meanwhile, consider the consequences whenever you sling a tree in a harsh environment...

    Even as a commercial guide I'm very, very strongly opposed to "access only for guided groups" but this might happen if the accident rate in certain canyons will go through the roof. This or a complete closure.

    The EFC is structured like a club, but a huge one. It's the oldest and biggest canyoning school in the world, with several people employed full-time to the cause of canyoning and a few thousand volunteers (nowadays it's called "canyonisme" in France...). EFC monitors are not allowed to do commercial guiding in France (that's a very long, partly political story) but I think that Rich can attest by now that they have a high skills level indeed.

    Due to language problems the EFC has apparently not promoted itself like it should have abroad but that will change in the future. I'll post some mails about that in the near future on this group because it seems we have a big international group going here.

    Koen

    --- In canyons@y..., rcwild@w... wrote: > Here are a few of the issues discussed with canyoners in Europe. I > found them interesting, so I am throwing them out for thought and/or > discussion and/or pure entertainment.
    1. It was discovered that certain fish laid their eggs in the sand > along the edges of streams in canyons. Canyoners walking through the > streams stirred up and destroyed many of the eggs, effecting the > reproduction rate of the fish. This reminded me of the impacts that > climbers can have at crags during nesting seasons. Are there areas > where there are or could be similar impacts in American canyons? If > so, should we be proactive in helping to identify them? Pushing for > voluntary closures during appropriate time periods?
    2. Some time back, there was a push for clean climbing in the Verdon > in southern France. As a result, climbers cut back on the placement > of bolts and began slinging the small bushes growing from the cracks > in the walls. Subsequently, a group from the University of California > undertook a study to determine the impacts on the vegetation. It was > discovered that these small bushes were actually 1,000 year old > bonzai trees. Climbers have since reverted to the use of bolts.
    3. Some very popular canyons in France have been closed to canyoning. > In part due to complaints by fisherman; in part due to the volume of > visitors and the number of accidents/rescues. In some other canyons, > access is now limited to groups accompanied by at least one person > who is certified at the level of Moniteur by the EFC (Ecole Francaise > de Descent de Canyon) or similar organization. The word Moniteur > means leader/guide, but not necessarily in the professional sense. > The EFC is organized like a club and many people who are not > professional guides are certified Moniteurs.
    Rich
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