You’ve just paddled your heart out to get to your campsite. You put on your flannel and grab your axe to prepare your campfire.
Something about being in the wilderness that brings out our inner woodsperson.
We know the feeling.
However, for the preservation of your toes, please read this before you swing that axe!
Axe-related injuries are some of the most serious and frequent emergencies, especially in our backcountry parks.
We chatted with some of our Algonquin Provincial Park rangers, and put together some backcountry ranger wisdom to help keep you safe while swinging an axe.
Prepare for your campfire needs earlier in the day, and don’t leave the chopping for late at night. You should always have good visibility when using an axe.
Chop your wood before you toast the completion of that loooong portage. Alcohol and axes do not mix.
Carefully position your body to keep out of the curved path of the axe swing. Our rangers most often see injuries with an axe in the shin or toes from a misjudged swing.
Never use your foot to steady a log you are splitting! Ouch!
Practice before your trip. Don’t wait until you are on your campsite to moonlight as a lumberjack or lumberjane.
Ensure your blade is sharp, and (again!) practice at home before you are many portages and a plane ride away from medical help.
Swing it, don’t throw it! With the increase of axe-throwing leagues and clubs popping up across the province, we have begun to see the trickle-down effects in our parks.
Our rangers want to remind you that cutting or damaging live growth is prohibited in provincial parks and carries a fine.
Be safe and respect the safety of other visitors and please don’t throw axes.
Now you’re ready to start your campfire!
By the way, do you know the ins and outs of safe campfires? Catch up on your fire safety!