Practicing safety and environmental responsibility during a total solar eclipse | News, Sports, Jobs



Warren Whitney (photo provided)

The April 8 total solar eclipse will be a once-in-a-lifetime event seen by millions of people, many of whom will be in remote wilderness and rural areas, including much of the Northeast. While certainly an exciting moment, it also ensures responsible use and advance planning of our wild spaces.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) spans 1,140 miles of waterways and trails from Old Forge, New York, to Fort Kent, Maine. The entire trail coincides with the path of the solar eclipse. As the nonprofit responsible for managing this trail, and as an organization that promotes paddling to people of all backgrounds, we are very excited about the eclipse. We also strongly recommend paying special attention to the Leave No Trace principle, as unusually high traffic volumes can have a negative impact on the environment.

If you plan to visit any of the communities across the North Forest on the All-Out Trail, be sure to book your accommodations and check in advance if the area you plan to camp at is open. Many businesses are closed during mud season, and many of the accommodations that are open are fully booked. Remember that many people think like you and roads, restaurants, and other businesses are working hard to accommodate everyone.

Anyone thinking of heading out into the wilderness to see the eclipse should check to see if trails are open. State environmental officials across the Northeast have already announced some trail closures, so users will need to check their access in advance. Mud season is here in the Northeast, and traffic on wet ground can damage trails. Some private recreation areas have chosen to restrict access during the eclipse.

Leave No Trace principles encourage outdoor enthusiasts to plan ahead, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave behind what they find, and burn campfires. We ask you to minimize your impact on wildlife, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. All of this applies to paddle sports as well as paddle sports. I go hiking and camping. To learn more about how to minimize your impact on the environment, visit

Observing a solar eclipse from the water can be a unique, low-impact experience. However, despite warmer than average temperatures, the water in the Northern Forest region is cold in early April. If you plan on watching from the water, it’s important to hone your cold water preparation. For more gear tips, we recommend checking out NFCT board member Danny Mongno’s 2021 presentation at You can also search by visiting “cold water” A series of blog posts about safe early season paddling.

Please enjoy this historic solar eclipse. We hope this opportunity inspires more people to embrace and enjoy the outdoors, but the most important thing is to be responsible and safe. Don’t forget your solar eclipse glasses!

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Warren Whitney is the board chairman of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. NFCT is a nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes a 740-mile waterway that stretches from Old Forge, New York, to Fort Kent, Maine, and connects New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine.

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