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Backcountry GuideBC Parks’ wilderness areas are a popular destination for park visitors. However, overuse and improper travelling and camping practices in the backcountry have led to damage to the natural environment and unfulfilled wilderness recreation experiences. Please keep in mind the following when enjoying the outdoors.
- Leave no sign of human use when travelling and camping in the backcountry. Pack out what you pack in. Take a garbage bag and carry out all garbage including:
- Toilet paper, tampons and disposable diapers and/or use a natural wiping alternative such as snow, leaves or river stones.
- Biodegradable scraps such as apple cores as it not likely to decompose before the next visitor comes along.
- Do not bury anything except human waste. Digging disturbs the ground and animals may also dig up and scatter your buried garbage.
- If there is no outhouse provided, burying your waste in a shallow hole is the best disposal method. The hole should be located at least 200 feet from any water sources, campsites, and trails.
- Avoid urinating on plants as it attracts animals that may damage them.
- Damage to, collection or removal of any natural resources is prohibited. We all must accept responsibility for minimizing our impact.
- Many of our backcountry parks require registrations.
- Backcountry registration information
- Smoking is not permitted in the backcountry. This restriction applies to the smoking and / or vaping of tobacco, cannabis, or other substances.
- Smoking Restrictions in BC Parks
- To avoid potential problems with bears, use bear-proof strategies to store food and other scented items. Never feed or approach bears.
- Bear safety information
- Campfire safety information
Trails and Campsites
- Hike on designated trails. Special care must be taken in alpine and sub-alpine areas. These are among the most fragile ecosystems because of the severe conditions and the short growing season. What may seem like a harmless activity can cause long-term damage.
- Place tent on the tent pads provided. A tent left in the same spot in an alpine meadow for a number of days will leave a visible mark on the meadow and may take the plants years to recover.
- Actions such as digging trenches around tents or lopping off tree boughs for a mattress are no longer acceptable.
Cooking and Cleaning
- Use gas stoves for cooking rather than an open fire whenever possible.
- Any washing activities should take place at least 200 feet from natural water sources. Lakes and streams may be a source of drinking water.
- Soap must be phosphate-free and biodegradable.
- Minimize tooth brushing impact by using salt or baking soda instead of toothpaste.
- Motor vehicles, including motorcycles, ATVs and similar vehicles, are restricted to the vehicle roads and parking lots.
- Taking pets, especially dogs, into the backcountry is not recommended and in some parks (Bowron Lake, Garibaldi, Kokanee Glacier and Cathedral provincial parks) is not permitted. They may disturb other campers, foul trails and/or create problems with bears.