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How to Respect and Observe Wildlife and Our Natural Surroundings with the BC Camper’s Code

The Camper’s Code is a health and safety initiative that has nine simple rules that are easy to follow. When outdoor enthusiasts respect the rules, camping continues to be enjoyable for all and nature remains pristine and animals stay wild. This blog explains: Respect Wildlife, Take Only Photos and Control Your Pets.

Respect Wildlife

Do not approach or feed wild animals

Getting close to and feeding wildlife can be detrimental to animals and birds, their survival, and even to you. Feeding is prohibited in many municipalities and parks in British Columbia and Canada, which means people can be fined.

Approaching wildlife (or allowing wildlife to come near you) causes them to stop being wary of people and can pose grave risks to humans and animals. Be aware that animals and birds can become stressed and/or defensive when humans are too close and can be protective of their young. Avoid noises or actions that might upset them.

Let wildlife forage for their own food and roam without an audience. Feeding wild animals and leaving food out (even accidentally) or not properly disposing of garbage, teaches animals that humans provide food.

Respect Wildlife – Use Binoculars to View | BC Parks

Observe from afar

If you wish to observe wildlife responsibly do so with a registered guide or from a safe distance (at least 30 metres for deer, moose and elk and 100 metres away from bears, coyotes, wolves, and cougars).

If you see wildlife beside a road while driving, slow down, stay inside the vehicle (both driver and passengers) and move on. Stopping or pulling over conditions animals into thinking that vehicles are nothing to be afraid of.

For more information, including viewing tips and guidelines, visit: BC Parks Wildlife Safety and Parks Canada Wildlife Watching.

Take Only Photos

Marvel at wildlife with cameras, binoculars and/or telephoto lenses but do not attempt any selfies or take photos of people with large or dangerous wildlife in the background. (A photo with a squirrel or chipmunk in behind—should it stay still enough—is a safer ‘photo op’.)

Take Only Photos | Glacier National Park, Parks Canada

Leave your drone behind. Drones disturb wildlife, disrupting their natural behaviour and risking injury; plus, they’re prohibited in many parks. Parks Canada has fines in the thousands of dollars for the use of drones.

Follow the basic rule: If it’s not yours, don’t take it. Leave natural and cultural objects undisturbed. This includes shells, mushrooms, flowers and even wood; if you transport wood from one campground to the next disease and bug infestations can be transferred.

Control Your Pets

We love our pets, and a lot of people go camping and RVing with them, but they can also contaminate trails, beaches and natural resources, annoy park visitors and negatively impact wildlife.

Control Your Pets | Parks Canada

Keep your pet(s) under control, obey the park or campground’s leash length policy and know where they’re allowed. Many parks are pet friendly and have off-leash areas so research this ahead of time. Be considerate of other campers and hikers, and other pets. Not all people or dogs, for instance, love all dogs. It’s for the safety of your own pets, fellow campers and local wildlife to control your own animal.

When it comes to pet waste, pick it up and pack it out every time. Not doing so is disrespectful to fellow campers and can pose a danger to other domestic animals and the wildlife.

For more information and guidelines on pets in parks visit the web pages Pets in BC Parks and Dogs in Parks Canada Protected Places.

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The Camper’s Code is a collaborative campaign started in 2021 by a dozen BC-based organizations who believe deeply in the responsibility of every single person to create a safe, enjoyable, respectful camping experience for all—people, wildlife, and nature.

The Camper’s Code is comprised of nine easy-to-follow rules: Respect Wildlife, Take Only Photos, Control Your Pets, Store Food Safely, Don’t Litter, Practice Fire Safety and Plan Ahead and Be Prepared, Respect Others, Respect Staff and Signs.

For campgrounds and RV parks in BC go to the BC Camping Map.

Share your BC camping and travel photos using hashtags #CampinBC #explorebc #green #bcnice

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Published: June 9, 2022
Last Updated: June 9, 2022

Camping RV in BC by Camping RV in BC

The Camping and RVing British Columbia Coalition is a non-profit marketing entity created to raise awareness of the wide range of camping and recreational vehicle (RV) experiences across the province of British Columbia (BC).