If one is truly passionate about spending time on the water—whether in recreation or in various conservation efforts—there can never be enough time navigating, renewing, and being renewed by, our rivers, streams or lakes. That is certainly the case where I am concerned; over the past couple of years, a blend of personal responsibilities, workplace demands and physical challenges (the kind that come with age) have greatly reduced the time I can spend on the water. I’m still cleaning up trash and debris when I get the chance to float a river, but not in the tonnage I did a few short years ago. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. And a while back, it occurred to me that there are ways I can advance matters of stewardship more effectively in the future.
With that in mind, I’m going to adjust this blog to focus less on my direct activities with river clean-up, and use it to focus more on sharing the ideas and accomplishments of others. Whether a Boy Scout troop removing trash from a riverside road here in St. Michael, or a dam removal on the Penobscot in Maine, I’ll pass along stories I find from all over, in the hope that this site becomes an idea resource to anyone who’s inclined to improve the rivers, streams and lakes that are dear to them. In shifting to this approach, I will be allowed more time for what is next.
Footprints and Photographs
There is a classic phrase used in the conservation community to encourage the careful use of parks, trails, and waterways: “Leave only footprints, and take only pictures.” I love that quote, because it frames, concisely, such a true and simple solution to many of the problems facing our natural places and their wildlife inhabitants.
Shortly after starting the river blog back in 2007, I was hit with a couple of epiphanies. The first was that CleanUpTheRiver.com was preaching to the choir; it is a blog most likely to be read by people who are already sold on the idea of stewardship.
Another important understanding occurred to me: Conservation begins with appreciation. If someone takes the time to see and experience the outdoors, they just naturally become more inclined to protect those places.
With FootprintsAndPhotographs.com, I hope to help folks see, experience, and appreciate the outdoors. The past few years have been a great opportunity to learn a little about natural photography, which is a nice compliment to the kind of writing I like to do. By sharing some photos and narratives from the places I've had the chance to visit and absorb, perhaps I can remind people how good we have it... and foster greater appreciation for the outdoors.
I plan to remain engaged in hands-on river clean-up. But the accomplishments I’m seeing from around the U.S. (and the world) are much more impressive than my own. So it makes more sense for this blog to focus on those kinds of inspirational issues and ideas. At this writing, I have sold our pair of kayaks, and am shopping for a solo canoe that might serve as a better platform for writing and photography in the wild (Julie and I still have the tandem Old Town canoe for when she wants to ride along). And I’m taking my camera to some off-water hiking and biking trails, too.
I have a head-start on the new blog, as I began posting entries in January of this year; I did not want to make the new site known, however, as I wanted to make sure I was happy with its contents before I shared it with others. While far from perfect, some stories and pictures are ready for you now, and I invite you to stop by for a visit, at http://FootprintsAndPhotographs.com/.
© 2010 Mike D. Anderson. All rights reserved.