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Canadian Canoe Routes
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Handout maps
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Author:  Mike McCrea [ January 26th, 2006, 10:16 am ]
Post subject:  Handout maps

One of my SOP’s for leading group trips is to photocopy a river map of some sort, either something from a guidebook or from a USGS topo map as handouts to the paddlers. I think this helps keep down some of the “are-we-there-yet” novice noise, as people unfamiliar with a river can judge for themselves how far along the trip has progressed.

I also make map copies for use on canoe campers, whether paddling with family or friends. In part I think that is a safety issue (everyone having a map) and in part I think its good practice to familiarize my kids with maps and map skills.

The one place I hadn’t done this in the past was at Assateague, because my topo map of that area is actually a series of topos cut and pasted into a rolled scroll 6’ long that covered the entire island. But our last trip there I photocopies the relevant sections onto four pieces of 8 ½ x 11 paper and made a half dozen copies. Thinking back it seemed as though every trip there we’d run into someone who had no map, or who only had the rudimentary Park handout map that shows the entire island in 10” of space.

The first day there we ran into two backpackers on the beach who were unsure of where they were relative to where they were headed and gave them a map and directions (they were packing with their two dogs – illegal on Assatreague – so our directions were essentially “Get off the beach now and go commando camp out of sight on the bayside before you get caught”).

The second day we were chatting up some waterfowl hunters who were discombobulated enough that they couldn’t find the blind they were searching for. Another map and directions.

I always bring extra maps, and I’ll now include Assateague in that tradition.

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