Chilean Lodges take innovative step in combatting spread of aquatic pests
The Patagonian BaseCamp Lodge and The Temple Camp have purchased safe wading boots for the use of all their guests from Korkers in the USA. No need to travel with bulky boots is a bonus!
It seems we are hit at every turn these days with alarming news about some new aquatic threat to our favorite streams and rivers. New Zealand mud snails, didymo, whirling disease…the onslaught seems relentless, and the potential for destruction dire. We are told repeatedly that the only practical method to control the spread of these invaders into our waters is prevention. Simply stated, if you must wear waders and wading shoes from potentially contaminated fisheries into non-affected waters, rather extreme cleaning techniques are mandatory. Especially dangerous are felt-soled wading boots, as the porous soles provide convenient nooks and crannies in which these offenders can hide, and even live in for extended periods of time. Those still-damp boots in your garage from a fishing trip last week may harbor live threats, ready and waiting to explode into a new and susceptible environment. One need look no further than some of the great New Zealand trout streams which have been devastated by didymo, to comprehend the damage possible in such a pristine and prized angler destination as Patagonia.
Enter Marcel Sijnesael, owner and operator of The Patagonian BaseCamp Lodge and The Temple Camp in Patagonia, Chile. Marcel and his crew guide clients annually to some of the most remote and pristine rivers in the country, many of which have seen only a handful of anglers, ever! In an effort to do all that he can to keep these virgin streams safe, Marcel has just joined forces with Brian Chaney (director at the Korkers company), purchasing dozens of their Streamborn Wading Shoes to have on hand for his clients use. Guests will be instructed to leave their own felt-bottomed boots at home (welcome news to traveling anglers who otherwise have to cart the heavy, awkward shoes around in their luggage), and simply plan on pulling correctly-sized boots from the lodge’s ample supplies each morning for use during their day on the water. The Korkers boots have interchangeable soles, and guests can switch from felt soles – that have never been in water outside of Patagonia – to rubber soles “on the fly” each day, as appropriate for individual river’s demands; if there is hiking, or horseback access to a particular stream, the rubber soles will be used, then changed out to felt once the water has been reached. Marcel has been wearing Korkers boots personally for the past two seasons at the lodge, and is confident they present the combination of function and environmental safety he is searching for.
Marcel is aware that there is no way to completely eliminate the threat, but he esteems that this is certainly a big step in the right direction! He cannot do anymore than “putting his money where his heart is”, and taking this expensive step to help insure the future well-being of these magnificent streams for future generations. He only hopes that other operators and lodges will follow his initiative soon.
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