Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Canoeing Wild Rivers; The 30th anniversary guide to expedition canoeing in North America," by Cliff Jacobson

       Ever wonder how paddlers who frequently venture into the really remote areas of North America deal with dangerous bears? (Don't hang food from a tree.)  Or how canoe tents or different?  Or where you should really be putting your ground cloth when pitching a tent?
        For expert answers to these pressing problems faced by the wilderness paddler, or even someone who just wants to get the most from a weekend of camping on a white Black Creek sandbar in Mississippi, get your hands on a copy of "Canoeing Wild Rivers," by Cliff Jacobson, (2015, FalconGuides), available at the Jefferson Parish Library.
          Many consider Jacobson to be the most expert of canoe/camping writers in the field of outdoor writing.  This is the fifth edition of Canoeing Wild Rivers, first published 30 years ago.
           The book can be enjoyed by paddlers from beginner to expert.  Jacobson peppers the book with incidents from a variety of experiences he has had making 42 trips on rivers in the Canadian wilderness.  He has also canoed many of the wilderness rivers in the US, often leading groups for weeks at a time miles and miles away from civilization.
            The book has long been considered the premier guide to canoeing and exploring North America's waterways.  But this should not be the only book in your library about canoeing.  To make room for the wealth of detailed information Jacobson includes on topics not often discussed in detail in other wilderness books, Jacobson omits descriptions of how to paddle and reading whitewater, essential skills for all paddlers.  These basics are commonly covered in "beginner canoeing" books.
            Instead Jacobson includes discussions on planning a wilderness canoe camping trip in Canada from who to pick as companions for the trip and which airplane to choose when flying to a remote put-in.  A wilderness guide, Jacobson includes detailed descriptions of how to rescue and repair a canoe damaged miles away from town and sound advice and fresh ideas for making camp more enjoyable and secure.
           Jacobson can get personal.  He writes openly about his love/hate for electronic devices such as GPS and satellite phones and how and why his opinions have changed regarding kayakers and rafters over the past 30 years.
            To help broaden the discussions and opinions, Jacobson includes advice from more than 25 of his fellow canoeing experts complete with their biographical info.  Of special interests to New Orleans area paddlers, Jacobson has included a new chapter devoted to paddling desert and swamp rivers.
          Canoeing Wild Rivers is definitely a book for the paddling enthusiast to have and to red and re-read often.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cypress Creek Campground in De Soto Natl Forest is closed and how I know that

      Cypress Creek Landing Campground is open.   The campground reopened soon after the water from Black Creek flooded the remote campground as damage from the high water was not as extensive as first thought.

      The campground at Cypress Landing in the De Soto National Forest south of Hattiesburg, MS is closed.  The small, remote and scenic primitive campground was flooded this spring and facilities there damaged when heavy rains raised the water levels in Black Creek, flowing along the site, 10-15 feet above "normal" spring water levels.
         The concrete boat launch at Cypress Landing remains open.  Camping and overnight parking is permitted on land immediately adjacent to the ramp but entering the closed campground is strictly prohibited, said officials at De Soto National Forest headquarters in Wiggins, MS.
         The landing at Cypress Creek, in the 501,000 acre national forest, is a popular access point for paddlers seeking recreation on the gentle sweet tea colored waters of Black Creek.  When the weather is warm, many boaters visit the creek's many sandbars to swim, camp, picnic or just goof-off.  A 20-mile portion of Black Creek has been designated a National Wild and Scenic River, the only river or creek in Mississippi so designated.  The creek also bisects a 5,000 acre federally designated Wilderness Area. 
         Black Creek flows through a "wet" county but alcohol is strictly prohibited in the national forest campgrounds.  Fines are considerable and rangers visit the campgrounds looking for violators.
       Damage  to Cypress Landing appears to be extensive as no date has been set for it to reopen.
       Other boat ramps and their adjoining primitive campgrounds remain open.  They are Big Creek Landing, Moody's Landing, Janice Landing and Fairley Bridge Landing.  These sites are very primitive; only Moody's and Janice has drinking water  The boat ramps and campgrounds are free. Along the river only the campground at Cypress Landing had a camping fee.  (There is a warm water shower there.)
       An updated trails advisory (601) 528-6180, says Black Creek Trail, a 41-mile hiking trail running along Black Creek and the shorter Tuxachanie Trail north of Gulfport are open but bridges may be out and the ground soggy in places.
       For more information call De Soto National Forest headquarters in Wiggins, MS at (601) 528-6160 weekdays 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.  The forest service does not yet post updated trail condition information on social media; you must call.