Responsible Recreation in BC's Parks
Let’s all do our part to Keep BC Beautiful.
Our Discover Parks Ambassadors are in many BC Parks throughout the province.
They are your guide to connecting to nature, and they can provide tips and tricks on how to have a great time on your next Park adventure.
Here are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure everyone has a safe, responsible, and respectful adventure, wherever that may be.
Parks are not self-cleaning
- Trash ruins the park for everyone. Remember to pack out your garbage.
- Litter attracts wildlife and increases wildlife-human conflict
- Leaving trash in bear caches and bear hangs can damage these facilities and prevent others from using them
Messy campsites cause mayhem
- Treat your campsite like your home. If you aren’t around, your food shouldn’t be either!
- Store all food and ‘smellies’ such as deodorant, toothpaste etc. in a hard sided vehicle, trailer, bear caches or bear hang.
- The firepit is not a garbage can
- Pack out all garbage, recyclables, and organics. Organic matter can attract wildlife
Wildlife is meant to be wild
Keep nature serene
- Trails are a shared space, be kind and considerate so everyone can have a good time
- Stay on the trail, shortcutting and trampling cause erosion and impacts plant and animal habitat
- Let the sound of nature prevail; don’t blast music.
- Smoking of any kind is prohibited in any BC Park, except frontcountry campsites
- Fido can’t always be free; adhere to signs regarding on- and off- leash areas.
- All drones should be kept at home. Learn more about Drones in BC Parks
Responsible outhouse usage
- Garbage in the outhouse makes it unusable and attracts wildlife
- Pooping in the backcountry can have detrimental effects on the environment, water quality and landscape. Try to find an outhouse.
- If you must go, dig a hole 100m away from camps, water sources, trails and bury your waste or pack it out
If everyone took something, there would be nothing left
- Please leave all flowers and fauna alone; flowers, mushrooms and dead wood all play a role in the ecosystem
- Forests are not firewood; use supplied firewood and burn only in designated areas
- Before you plan on having a campfire, make sure it is legal in that area and that there is no ban in effect
Plan and Prepare
- Nature is unpredictable, ensure you have a trip plan, pack your essentials, and tell someone responsible where you are going and when you plan on being back
- Learn more about trip-planning with Adventure Smart
- Camp safe, not sorry; sleep only in designated areas and if a permit is required, get one.
- Learn more about Making a Reservation in a BC Park
Below we’ve compiled some fun tips and tricks that we at the Foundation have found useful in the past!
Around the campsite
- Choose good quality gear (you can pick up amazing gear second hand!) and learn how to repair it so it doesn’t become waste
- Pack a puncture repair kit in case your air mattress deflates
- Bring your rain gear and a tarp!
- Choose strong plastic totes for food and gear when car camping, as inevitably someone will sit on them and break them, and then you’ll have to dispose of it
- Bring slippers or Crocs for in camp
- Ditch the disposables. Reusable containers, sandwich wraps and cutlery will have less impact on the environment
- Bring car straps just in case, very useful for attaching things
- Cold night? Heat up water and put it in a water bottle at the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep your feet warm overnight
- Save space by not bringing a pillow, just a stuff sack or small pillowcase and fill it with clothes
- Respect fire bans and follow all fire restrictions
- Doritos make amazing fire starters
- Old beeswax sandwich wraps can be chopped up and used as fire starters
- Hand sanitizer can be a fire starter!
Meals and Snacks
- Make a Smoredilla – ingredients of smores + peanut butter in a tortilla, cooked on the campfire
- Prepare your pancake mix at home
- Only cook what you can eat, so you don’t have to deal with disposing of or packing out leftovers
The BC Parks Foundation is also a proud member of the Campers Code alliance. Take the pledge to do your part as a responsible camper here.
We would also like to thank our friends and partners at Adventure Smart who provide so much guidance for people around the province.
BC's parks are places of astounding natural beauty that anchor our hearts and our souls.”