The Mississippi River is one of the most iconic moving bodies of water on earth, and thousands of people canoe or kayak its historic waters every year. With its ever-growing popularity and vast, natural beauty, each visitor must play his or her role in keeping the river safe and pristine. Visit Vicksburg has a few etiquette tips to help folks make the most of their canoeing adventure while protecting the waterway and ensuring fellow visitors have fun, too.
Pack It In and Out
One of the most awe-inspiring features of the Mississippi River is the abundance of wildlife one can see while paddling. The majestic Bald Eagle lives year-round on the southern portion of the river hunting for prey and nesting in the trees, while the American alligator loves to soak up the sun on the shore. The animals found in and around the Mississippi River are special, and litter poses a threat to their natural habitat, so it’s very important that you bring back any disposable items with you. Be especially mindful of plastic items that may ensnare or trap animals. Utilize only marked garbage bins to dispose of your trash, and consider bringing a bag with you on your trip to pick up any additional litter you find. The animals will be grateful for your help!
People utilize the mighty Mississippi for a number of activities, so it’s necessary to politely share the water. If you see anglers fishing on the shore, adjust your paddle strokes to be smooth and quiet and make eye contact when possible so that they know you’re there. Keep voices to a reasonable level to avoid scaring away fish and other wildlife, and be mindful around other boats and people in the river. Should you hit turbulent waters, remember to allow space for upstream and downstream rowing, and always yield to upstream paddlers when currents are rough. If you are on a guided tour, defer to your guide for the best rowing practices. Quapaw Canoe Company offers canoe tours around Vicksburg on the Lower Mississippi River, they’re a great option for their local knowledge and attention to detail.
One of the best ways to be a thoughtful paddler is to be prepared. Know water and weather conditions before you launch and bring adequate food, clothing, and other supplies. Having a map is essential, even if you’re in a tour group, in the event you accidentally become separated. It’s a good idea to carry a first aid kit in your canoe so you can treat small injuries. Make sure all children and adults wear proper safety gear, including life vests and floatation devices.
Alligators are important residents of the Mississippi River and you should never interact with them directly. Maintain a safe distance from all wildlife, and know what kind of creatures you might encounter before you launch your canoe. Never feed the wildlife or take anything from the river or nearby banks. By keeping yourself safe, you also keep other visitors and animals safe.
Learn More about Enjoying Canoes in Vicksburg
Practicing good canoeing etiquette keeps the river wild and clean so visitors can appreciate it for many years to come. The Mississippi has a rich, storied history, and learning more about it will not only enhance the quality of your trip but also allow you to come prepared to launch your canoe for a safe, fun adventure. To learn more about canoeing and exploring the great outdoors in Vicksburg, MS, contact Visit Vicksburg today.