At BC Parks, a big part of our job is helping people enjoy British Columbia’s extraordinary natural beauty. We are also committed to preserving B.C.’s outdoor spaces, so that everyone can enjoy them for years to come.
We cannot do it without your help. That is why we’ve created guidelines for responsible recreation. Follow the guidelines on this page and do your bit to help us keep BC Parks clean, green, and peaceful.
These guidelines are built on the knowledge that B.C.’s natural spaces are the traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples. Protecting what is now known as British Columbia starts with respecting Indigenous teachings and traditions.
Look on this page for information about:
- Showing respect for Indigenous Peoples and cultural values
- Taking care with campfires to prevent wildfires
- Keeping parks peaceful and quiet
- Disposing of waste properly
- Visiting BC Parks with pets
- Preserving the fresh air
- Being wildlife aware
- Visiting with drones
For information about keeping yourself, your family, and other visitors safe while visiting BC Parks, see the staying safe page.
Respect and reconciliation
Responsible recreation is built on respect for the cultural values of the land and the long history of Indigenous cultures. Indigenous Peoples continue to steward these lands and waters that draw visitors from around the world.
When visiting parks, remember that you are on the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples. Take extra care around pit houses, shell middens, and other heritage sites. Leave any cultural artifacts or remains where you find them.
If you do come across any artifacts or remains, report them to the BC Archaeology Branch or BC Parks as soon as possible.
Indigenous Peoples use parks and protected areas for important cultural, social, and ceremonial purposes, including hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering. Please do not disturb Indigenous Peoples participating in these or other activities.
When visiting remote Indigenous communities, keep in mind that some of these communities have limited resources. Roads can be challenging, and health and emergency services may not be easily available.
To learn more about how we are contributing to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, see the Indigenous relations and reconciliation page.
This short video features some great tips on how to prepare for a responsible day-hike.
For more information about responsible recreation on day-hiking trails, see our camping and day-use guide.
With the growing wildfire risk in BC, campfires are allowed only in designated fire pits, and temporary bans are becoming more common. Always check your park’s webpage before your visit, to see if a campfire ban is in effect.
To help prevent wildfires, never leave your campfire unattended. Make sure it is completely out before you leave. Sift the cold ashes through your hands to ensure the fire is 100 percent extinguished.
Do not gather wood, break off branches, or damage live trees in any way to build your fire. Bringing in your own firewood can expose sensitive ecosystems to invasive species, so please only use firewood supplied by BC Parks.
For more information on preventing wildfires, see the camping and day-use guide page.
Peace and quiet
People come to BC Parks to experience the calm of the natural world. Respect their experience and the natural peacefulness of open spaces. Deliberate or unnecessary noise, such as loud music, is not allowed at any time.
When staying at a campground, observe quiet time between 11pm and 7am. Keep the use of generators to a minimum. Quiet inverter generators are preferred where possible, and use is only allowed from 9am to 11am and 6pm to 8pm.
When hiking, remember that trails are shared spaces. Talk quietly, acknowledge other visitors and be considerate of them. By working together, we ensure that everyone can enjoy these incredible places, the way they are supposed to be.
Want to commit to helping us keep BC Parks, clean, green, and peaceful? Take the Camper’s Code pledge today.
If garbage and other waste matter is not disposed of properly, it can damage the environment and create dangerous wildlife encounters. Use the appropriate recycling, garbage, and wastewater disposal facilities, whenever available.
If these are not accessible, pack out your waste. Take all food scraps and any hazardous materials with you when you leave. This includes recyclable items and food waste left over from cooking, eating, and washing up.
If you have items that cannot be recycled at the park but can elsewhere, please pack them out. For example, parks cannot recycle soft plastics, but some stores and recycling depots can.
Use public washrooms where they are available. If you are in a backcountry area with no facilities, bury human waste and toilet paper at least 20cm deep and 70m from any water source. Urinate away from vegetation and water.
For more information on the extra care required for visits to remote areas, see the backcountry guide page.
Pets are welcome in many parks, and dogs can be exercised off leash in designated areas. However, pets must be kept under control, and they are not allowed in playgrounds or public buildings.
Leashing your dog keeps you, them, and other wildlife safe. Letting your dog off leash outside designated areas can damage trails and natural resources, and harm sensitive wildlife. It may also endanger or upset other park visitors.
Please keep an eye out for signs regarding on- and off-leash areas and observe the rules strictly. If everyone follows these rules, there will continue to be plenty of pet-friendly spaces in BC parks.
For information on keeping your pets, and yourself, safe around wildlife, see wildlife, below.
People come to the great outdoors expecting fresh air. At BC Parks, we are committed to making sure they are not disappointed. We’re doing everything we can to reduce your exposure to second-hand smoke and other airborne impurities.
Smoking tobacco or cannabis, using e-cigarettes, and vaping are not allowed in most areas. These activities are only allowed in designated areas of some frontcountry campgrounds.
Smoking and vaping are not allowed anywhere in the backcountry. This includes access points such as park roads, parking lots, and trailheads. Remember, there are also very strict rules about lighting campfires in the backcountry.
For more information on campfire rules and regulations, see the campfire safety section, above.
British Columbia’s natural spaces are home to an extraordinary diversity of wild animals. When visiting BC Parks, please remember you are in someone else’s home, and they were there first.
Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach animals. Avoid wildlife areas during sensitive times, such as when animals and birds may be mating, nesting, raising young, or hibernating.
Never feed wildlife as it damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Fed animals lose their natural fear of humans and may become aggressive.
For details of how to avoid dangerous encounters with animals, including bears and cougars, see the wildlife safety page.
Drone use causes noise pollution, disturbs wildlife, and can invade the privacy of other park users. It may also disrupt emergency activities, putting wildlife, park visitors, and BC Parks staff at significant additional risk.
Operating drones without permission is strictly illegal in all BC Parks. We appreciate drones may be useful in resource management and scientific studies, but we rarely grant permission for drone use.
If you do obtain permission to fly a drone, you are still required to keep it away from wildlife and other visitors. You must also be ready to show BC Parks staff proof of permission whenever flying a drone in any park.
For more information on applying for permission to fly drones in a park, visit the commercial permit information page.