Know Before You Go
Smoking Restrictions in BC Parks
In Provincial Parks and Protected Areas, smoking is only permitted within a designated frontcountry campsite or group campsite, occupied by a registered party or their guests. This restriction applies to the smoking and / or vaping of tobacco, cannabis, or other substances.
The purpose of this policy is to increase safety and enjoyment of the visiting public by minimizing their exposure to second-hand smoke, reducing the risk of wildfires, and protecting wildlife and the environment from the hazardous effects of discarded cigarette butts and other litter associated with smoking.
For more information on cannabis legalization and public consumption, please refer to “Get Cannabis Clarity” found at: cannabis.gov.bc.ca.
Provincial Camping Ethics and Regulations
BC Parks is dedicated to preserving the natural state of parks while also providing recreational access to its features. Park regulations and policies protect park values, ensuring a quality experience for all visitors, both today and in years to come.
Frontcountry Camping Ethics
General Campground Regulations
Many campgrounds have specific rules and guidelines. Please check the relevant BC Parks web page before visiting the campground.
- Smoking is only permitted within a designated frontcountry campsite or group campsite, occupied by a registered party or their guests. This restriction applies to the smoking and / or vaping of tobacco, cannabis, or other substances.
- Visitors must leave and park gates are closed by 11:00 pm, unless otherwise stated in the park. Only registered campers are allowed in the campsite after 11:00 p.m. Check information at the park for specific details, as some park gates close or open earlier.
- Excessive noise is not permitted. Please remember that sound travels further in open air, especially music and loud talking.
- Liquor consumption is prohibited anywhere in the park with the exception of your campsite.
- Barbecues must be used on the ground unless barbecue attachments are provided on picnic tables.
- Firearms: For your safety, firearms are prohibited. For more information, go to Fishing & Hunting Information.
- Bears: To avoid potential problems with bears, lock your food in your vehicle whenever you are asleep or not at your campsite. Be sure to use the garbage containers provided and maintain a clean campsite. Never feed or approach bears. More information on bear safety.
- Trees and shrubs are easily damaged; do not use them for wiener sticks. Leave flowers and others plants to grow.
Campfires may not be permitted in all parks. Leaving your campfire unattended is a serious offence. Firewood is no longer provided as part of the park camping fee. Firewood can be purchased from the Park Facility Operator in some parks or you can bring your own wood. Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary.
Please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals; it adds organic matter to the soil.
You can conserve firewood and help improve air quality by keeping your campfire small. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be imposed; some parks may use communal fire rings. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking, or charcoal briquettes in a hibachi may also be used.
Intro to Campfire Safety
The fire element brings so much life to camping. It provides warmth, and is a great tool for cooking dinner at night, and making coffee in the morning. However, campfires can present some risks that visitors should recognize. Life is good, so get out there and adventure, but do it safely.
In the frontcountry parks (i.e. vehicle accessible camping), pets must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in the day-use/beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behavior and must dispose of their excrement.
Vehicles and Roadways
Parking is permitted only in designated areas and on the gravel portion of campsites. Parking is not permitted on roadsides.
Bicycles may only be ridden on park roads and on designated trails. Vehicles used in parks must be licensed and operated by licensed drivers.
- Swimming areas protect swimmers within marker buoys. All watercraft and water-skiers must stay outside markers. Lifeguards are not in attendance in BC Parks.
- Trails are planned to take you safely through the most interesting and beautiful parts of our parks without damaging sensitive and unique plant and wildlife habitats. Stay on the trails.
Backcountry Camping Ethics
British Columbia’s wilderness areas are a popular destination for both BC residents and visitors. However, over-use and improper travelling and camping practices in the backcountry have led to damage to the natural environment and unfulfilled wilderness recreation experiences.
To retain the high quality of our wilderness experiences, we all must accept responsibility for minimizing our impact.
Damage to, collection or removal of any natural resources is prohibited.
Motor vehicles, including motorcycles, ATV's and similar vehicles, are restricted to the vehicle roads and parking lots.
Leave No Trace
Everyone who uses the backcountry must strive for “Leave No Trace” camping. This is essential for backcountry camping.
When camp is broken, there should be absolutely no sign of human use.
Pets in the Backcountry
Taking pets into the backcountry, especially dogs, is not recommended, and in some parks is not permitted. Although some people feel that their pet is a part of the family, they can disturb other campers, foul trails and create potential for problems with bears.
Dogs and other domestic animals are not permitted in:
- Bowron Lake Provincial Park
- Cathedral Provincial Park
- Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
- Garibaldi Provincial Park
- Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park
Refer to the specific BC Parks Protected Area web page or consult with BC Parks staff to determine whether pets are permitted where you intend to visit.
Campfires in the backcountry
Use portable gas stoves for cooking instead of campfires whenever possible.
Campfires are prohibited in many backcountry areas, particularly those containing alpine and sub-alpine areas, or other sensitive environments. Refer to the specific BC Parks Protected Area web page or consult with BC Parks staff to determine whether campfires are permitted where you intend to visit.
Where campfires are permitted, use approved fire-rings or pits to build your fire.
Where campfires are permitted, and approved fire-rings or pits are not available, follow these guidelines when building your campfire:
- Prepare your campfire by removing all leaves, twigs and other flammable material from an area extending at least 30 centimetres around the fire.
- Be sure to scrape or dig down to mineral soil.
- Build your campfires at least three metres from any log, stump, snag, standing tree or wooden structure
Campfires cannot be larger than 0.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in diameter, or roughly a foot-and-a-half by a foot-and-a-half. People must also have a shovel or eight litres of water nearby, and build a fireguard around their campfires by scraping down to the dirt and clearing away twigs, leaves and needles.Having a fire larger than 0.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in diameter could result in a fine of $345.
- Equip yourself with a shovel or a pail of water containing at least 8 litres and keep near the fire at all times.
- Attend your campfire at all times and be certain it is extinguished before leaving it. Sift the ashes with your fingers to be sure.