Whether it’s lakeside picnicking, long-weekend camping, or day-hiking, B.C.’s outdoor spaces offer fun experiences for the whole family. At BC Parks, our job is to keep these spaces beautiful and safe, for everyone to enjoy.
Of course, we cannot do it without your help. That’s why we ask all visitors to stay safe and help us protect the natural splendour and cultural values of these extraordinary places.
Every park has its own potential dangers, as well as its environmental and cultural sensitivities. Even if you’re just visiting for a day or camping one night, put safety first and be considerate of others.
This page provides safety and responsible-recreation information primarily aimed at day-hikers and frontcountry campers. For guidance on visiting backcountry areas, see the backcountry guide page.
‘Frontcountry’ means an area within 1km of a highway or park road. ‘Backcountry’ areas are more than 1km away from any roads.
If you are planning a camping or day-hiking trip, look on this page to learn about:
- Staying safe in BC Parks
- Helping us prevent wildfires
- Protecting the natural environment
- Showing respect for other visitors and the cultural values of parks
The Camper’s Code
Want to commit to helping us keep BC Parks, clean, green, and peaceful? Take the Camper’s Code pledge. The Camper’s Code provides clear responsible-recreation guidelines and invites you to pledge that you’ll do your bit.
Rules and rangers
The advice provided here will help you take responsibility for behaving appropriately when visiting parks and protected areas. Following these guidelines should ensure that you do not break any BC Parks rules or provincial laws.
Park operators and rangers are responsible for implementing rules and laws in BC Parks. If you break the rules or commit an illegal act, they are required to take action. For serious violations, you could be fined or evicted from your campsite.
For detailed information on how to keep yourself, your family, and other park visitors safe, see the staying safe page.
When visiting any frontcountry area, campground, or day-hiking trail:
- Pack essential supplies and be prepared for hazardous conditions
- Take care to avoid potentially dangerous encounters with wildlife
For detailed information on avoiding dangerous animal encounters, visit the wildlife safety page.
Wildfires represent a growing problem in British Columbia. Fires started by human activity can quickly burn out of control. Uncontrolled wildfires pose an extremely serious risk to the environment, human life, and property.
Do not smoke or vape
Smoking or vaping of any kind is forbidden in day-use areas and only allowed in designated areas on some campgrounds. Because of the growing wildfire risk, these rules are strictly enforced.
Be careful with campfires
Campfires are only allowed in designated fire pits. With the growing wildfire risk, temporary campfire bans are becoming more common. Always, check your park’s webpage before your visit to see if a campfire ban is in effect.
Never leave your campfire unattended. Leaving a campfire unattended is a serious offence. Make sure your fire is completely out before leaving. Sift the cold ashes through your hands to ensure the fire is 100 percent extinguished.
If you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 1-800-663-5555 (or *5555 on a mobile phone).
At BC Parks, protecting British Columbia’s natural environment is one of our top priorities. Many parks have environmentally sensitive areas. Check your park’s webpage for details of areas that require extra care.
Some day-hikes may take you into backcountry areas. When hiking into the backcountry, always follow Leave No Trace wilderness ethics. For details, see our backcountry guide.
Conserve natural resources
Tread lightly and stick to trails, to avoid damaging plant life. Leave plants, rocks, logs, and other natural resources where you find them. Never strip branches from or hammer nails into trees.
Dispose of garbage and recycling properly
Use the appropriate recycling, garbage, and wastewater disposal facilities, when available. If these are not accessible, pack out your waste. Take all food scraps and any hazardous materials with you when you leave.
For more on how to help us preserve British Columbia’s natural environment while you enjoy parks, visit the responsible recreation page.
We ask that all visitors to parks and protected areas show respect for the land and other visitors. If we all work together, we can keep B.C.’s natural spaces peaceful and green for generations to come. Follow these guidelines to play your part:
- Respect the cultural values of the land. Remember that you are on the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples. Leave any cultural items where you find them and take extra care around pit houses and other heritage sites.
- Share the hiking trails. Trails are for everyone but not for every activity. Only ride your bike or exercise your dog off-leash in the designated areas. Keep an eye on signs and always stick to the path.
- Keep pets under control. Make sure your dog is leashed where required and does not bark excessively. Pick up after them and dispose of waste in the garbage. Pets are not allowed in playgrounds or public buildings.
- Drive and park with care. Parking is permitted only in designated parts of day-use areas and campgrounds. Because children play in campgrounds, the maximum speed limit is 20km per hour.
- Keep your park peaceful. High-volume music, and other unnecessary noise is not allowed at any time. Campers must observe quiet time between 11pm and 7am.
- Drink responsibly. Liquor can only be consumed on registered campsites by legal adults. Drinking alcohol is prohibited in all day-use and public frontcountry areas, including campground washrooms and roadways.