Thursday, May 6, 2010

Path of the Paddle - Bill Mason

The Path of the Paddle (Solo Basic, Solo Whitewater, Doubles Basic and Doubles Whitewater) series of films produced by Bill Mason in the 1970's and 80's continue to form the foundation of paddling technique and show the skills required by any canoeist to safely navigate on the waterways of the Canadian back country.

Solo Basic

Solo Whitewater

Doubles Basic

Doubles Whitewater


Prairie Voyageur said...

I've really enjoyed these videos and Bill Mason's books, both his serious and light side. His humourous educational film (for kids) about the Great Lakes is good for a laugh :-)

On the serious side, I can relate to the struggle Bill faced realizing that his books and videos on one hand promoted use of the wilderness (as a means to create awareness for its protection), while at the same time realizing that increased use of the wilderness by outdoor enthusiasts (caused in part by his influence) could lead to its abuse and degredation.

Bill seemed to conclude that the advantages of promoting wilderness use, and thus preservation, offset the negative side effects in the long run. But the state of the wilderness is rapidly changing from Bill's glory days when he recommended only canoeing on water you could drink (straight out of the river/lake). Every year there are more people wanting to enjoy the wilderness, and less wilderness to be enjoyed, plus more industrial uses of wilderness areas.

I struggle with the irony that enjoyment of the wilderness creates for me. Like most urban dwellers today (which is now most of the population in the world), my enjoyment of the wilderness requires significant use of non-renewable resources which ultimately eats into the dwindling wilderness that remains.

I try to balance these ironies by cycling to the "wilderness" when I can and minimizing use of camping gear, etc, even though this usually only brings me on a day trip to mostly naturalized urban parks. A sort of compromise I guess.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject, if you have not already posted on this.

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