Packrafting Is Conservation

“Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?” Aldo Leopold

The American Packrafting Association holds the conservation of wild lands and wild waters among our highest priorities. Packrafts exist because of the challenge of wild places. Packrafts, are meant to be used in hard-to-reach places, well beyond the end of the road. They are like wolverines – indicators of large, intact wilderness. Packrafters strongly support the designation of large Wilderness Areas – the bigger and wilder, the better.

Packrafts require no infrastructure or “improvements” such as boat launches, roads, trailheads or fueling docks. Instead, packrafts necessitate low-impact travel, requiring travelers to pack light, plan carefully and act responsibly. Packrafters experience wild nature fully, and intimately, on its own terms.

Packrafts enable travel through nearly any environment, allowing people to see entire landscapes. Bikes, skis, and feet can take you to the water’s edge, but packrafts allow you to jump in and keep going. When you come to a cliff, stuff the boat in your pack and just keep going. At the edge of a glacier, tow the boat like a sled and just keep going. Packrafts allow you to just keep going so that you can see the bigger picture.

In 2007 Bretwood Higman and Erin McKittrick left their apartment in Seattle and trekked 4,000 miles up the Pacific coast over the course of a year, relying on packrafts much of the way. The purpose of their journey was to raise awareness of conservation issues along this broad swath of wild country. Packrafts were the tool that allowed them to just keep going.

In the 1970’s packrafts were instrumental in the protection of Tasmania’s Franklin River. Flotillas of the Aussie packrafts played a major role during Australia’s first big national conservation controversy. A packraft blockade and non-violent protest saved the Franklin River from being lost to dams. The political momentum that began with packrafters working to preserve their favorite river eventually led to establishment of the Franklin River as a National Park and World Heritage Site. Bob Brown and environmentalism went on to become a potent political force in Tasmania and Australia, largely due to a packraft trip down a wild river. Packrafts allowed the river to just keep going.

John Davis, a modern-day Henry David Thoreau, used packrafts in his TrekEast and TrekWest travels to highlight the importance of large, intact, and interconnected wild landscapes. With a packraft, John has been able to travel like a wolverine and just keep going.

The American Packrafting Association is dedicated to the protection and restoration of large, intact wild lands and wild waters across America and around the world. We endorse the removal of dams, the closure of roads and the recovery of native species, especially large carnivores. We will always place wildlife and wildness first.

In wild places, packrafts just keep going.

APA played a role in crafting The Principles for Advancing Outdoor Recreation and Conservation. We encourage all packrafters to read the principles, share them, and incorporate them into your travels.

Contact Us

American Packrafting Association

PO Box 13
Wilson, WY 83014