The Guide Footprint
stew·ard·ship noun \ˈstü-ərd-ˌship, ˈstyü-; ˈst(y)u̇rd-\
The activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.
As guides, we are, or should view ourselves as, stewards of the natural resources we are introducing our clients to. We have some responsibility for the wondrous locations we depend on for our jobs and the lifestyle we have chosen for ourselves and our families.
Every day I am in a place where fly fishing guides are a common sight. I watch to see who outwardly looks as though they care about where they are and what message they are subliminally sending to their clients, and the growing percentage of public who pay attention. Sadly, I am shocked at the small number whose actions speak as though they are stewards of the rivers, lakes, forests and oceans.
It doesn’t have to be a huge effort; even the smallest things can make a profound difference. For example, an average year puts me on the water 225-250 days. On each of these days, I typically buy lunch and coffee for at least myself and then water bottles for everyone. That is at least 225 paper coffee cups, lids and plastic/paper grocery bags, and 2 bottles of water per person used in a single year. Add some plastic utensils and 1-2 coffees for clients and you are talking about one massive amount of waste.
If there were say 5,000 fly fishing guides in the U.S. alone and each of them only averaged 100 days on water a year, that comes up as 500,000 coffee cups and plastic bags a year, and that is just for them — clients not included. Add to this the plastic utensils, napkins, straws, sugar packs and all else that goes into our consumption in a day of guiding. HOLY CRAP!
Here is the bare minimum I challenge my fellow fly fishing guides to do:
- Recycled Waders Eddy Roll Top or Patagonia Carry Y’all Bag
- Reusable Coffee Mug/Water Bottle
- Reusable Bamboo Spork (fits in wallet)
Obviously, we can do much more. Drive better vehicles, carpool, reusable plates and bowls, washable napkins, go paperless in the workplace and much more.
Every year, we as guides inspire our clients in more ways than we imagine, from what we wear to how we talk and even how we act. It would be very easy to subtly (or not) shift our lifestyle towards more thoughtful decisions that will preserve our workplace!