Back country ethics

How to stay safe in B.C.'s wilderness

Back country ethics

British Columbia‘s wilderness areas are a popular destination for both residents and visitors. Popularity has its drawbacks, though. Over-use and improper traveling and camping practices in the backcountry have led to damage to the natural environment and unfulfilled wilderness expectations. To retain the high quality of our wilderness experiences, we all must acceptresponsibility for minimizing our impact.

Special care must be taken in alpine and sub-alpine areas. These are among the most fragile because of severe conditions and a short growing season. To preserve this pristine wilderness, it is important to hike on designated trails, put up your tent on tent pads where provided and use a backpacking stove for cooking rather than an open fire.

Taking pets into the backcountry, especially dogs, is not recommended. Pets can disturb other campers, foul trails and aggravatewildlife.

Everyone who uses the backcountry must strive for “no trace camping”. In other words, when camp is broken, there should be no sign of human use. Leave the area in better condition than when you arrived.

“IF YOU PACK IT IN……PACK IT OUT” – Take along a garbage bag and carry out all trash that you generate including biodegradable scraps such as apple cores, orange peels, etc.

• Use portable gas stoves for cooking.

• Boil or filter and treat water before drinking it.

• If there is no outhouse provided, burying your waste in a shallow hole is the best disposal method. The hole should be located at least200 feet from any water sources, campsites, and trails.

• Pack out all toilet paper, tampons and disposable diapers or use a natural wiping alternative such as snow, leaves, or tree lichen.

• Avoid urinating on plants because animals are attracted to the salty liquid.

• Any washing activities should take place at least 200 feet from natural water sources and, if you use soap, make sure it is phosphatefree and bio-degradable.

• For tooth cleaning, use salt or baking soda instead of toothpaste, which contains detergent.

Take your photos and memories home with you – but please leave the park with no trace of your visit, so that others may also enjoy our protected areas.

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