Follow the Camper’s Code and be a Responsible and Safe Camper
Store Food Safely, Don’t Litter and Practice Fire Safety are three of the nine easy-to-follow rules of the Camper’s Code. When outdoor enthusiasts abide by these rules, camping continues to be enjoyable for all, nature remains pristine and animals stay wild.
Store Food Safely
Food and scented items can attract wild animals which can lead to personal injury and the wildlife being harmed, killed, or sadly, destroyed. It is therefore important to store all food in a wildlife-proof container or in a hard-sided vehicle or bear cache and to keep a bare campsite.
Never feed wildlife. WildSafeBC, run by the British Columbia Conservation Federation, has a webpage dedicated to species you may see or encounter in the province; educate yourself about them before camping or hiking.
BC Parks’ webpage Responsible Recreation lists guidelines on being safe and respectful adventurers and RVers can check out the Camping and RVing BC Coalition’s article on RV organization, which lists food and general storage tips.
Littering is unacceptable, is uncool and can even pose a danger to wildlife and humans as it attracts wildlife and increases wildlife-human conflict.
Put all garbage and pet waste in marked waste bins in and around campgrounds, recreation sites, parks and beaches and recycle where possible. If there are no bins nearby make sure to ‘pack it out’—if it comes with you it should leave with you (this includes organic matter). Don’t treat the outhouses and firepits like garbage cans and, before leaving, return the campsite to the condition in which you found it—or better. If you smoke cigarettes or use cannabis properly dispose of the butts. Please be aware that smoking tobacco and cannabis, including e-cigarettes and vaping, are not permitted in BC Parks’ backcountry.
WildSafeBC’s webpage on WildSafe Camping has information on preventing conflict with wildlife via responsible camping, and the Camping and RVing BC Coalition has a noteworthy article on Camping Etiquette.
Practice Fire Safety
Obey local and regional laws regarding campfires and pay attention to the risk of forest fires in the area in which you’ll be camping. You can prevent human-caused wildfires by practicing these three campfire safety rules:
Respect fire bans – Plain and simple, do not have a campfire if there is a campfire ban. In BC, there are three categories of fires that can be affected by restrictions: open fires, campfires and forest use.
Never leave a fire unattended – Only start a campfire in a designated fire pit or in a contained ring of rocks and build the campfire away from flammable items such as awnings, camp chairs and tree branches.
Put fires out completely – Fires must not be smoldering and should be cold to the touch, including the coals. Also, never leave food items cooking unattended, whether outside or inside of your trailer.
Do not throw matches, cigarettes or smoking materials from moving vehicles or on park/forest grounds and completely extinguish smoking materials in a proper receptacle or a can with water before disposal. If you’re camping and hiking and plan to smoke carry a pocket ashtray.
Some private campgrounds only permit propane fires at all times and have a no wood burning policy, while others allow charcoal and wood burning; verify this with the campground office or on its website.
To keep abreast of fire bans and restrictions, including campfire bans, please visit the BC Wildfire Service or call toll-free: 1 (888) 3FOREST / 1 (888) 336-7378. To report a forest fire or unattended fire in British Columbia call *5555 on your mobile phone or toll-free: 1 (800) 663-5555.
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Check out the video below and make sure to take the Camper’s Code Pledge!
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 and Respect Staff and Signs.
For campgrounds and RV parks in BC go to the BC Camping Map.
It’s always a great day to #CampinBC
Published: May 12th, 2022
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