Please Camp Responsibly. Take the CAMPER’S CODE Pledge

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

Campers Etiquette – Is there such a thing?

RV set up on campsite

RV set up on campsite. Photo: C. Brown

What is etiquette in a campground?  Well, it’s the respect for others that starts upon your arrival at the Campground.  It doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have or do not have, what fancy toys you have – It is a respect for the fellow camper and the campground.  The last thing you or the Campground want is to have Mr. and Mrs. Obnoxious spilling out into the park.

What is a common problem operator’s encounter?  I spoke with a campground owner recently and the screening of perspective guests is key to everyone having a good night’s rest and a great camping experience.  She says if someone is booking a group of “young adults without children”, then it’s generally a no-go for them.  Of course this does not mean they are turning away all “more than two adult” parties without children, it just means that they carefully consider it.

I myself have stayed at many campgrounds which includes private and provincial and even some recreation sites and the rules are somewhat similar:

Pets Must be on a Leash

Pets Must be on a Leash.

  1. Each person/vehicle/guest must register.
  2. Make yourself and others in your party familiar with the campground, look at the rules and the site map.
  3. Quiet time – (10:00 PM to 7:00 AM) times may vary at each campground. This is the one that is very troublesome for a lot of campers.  Small children wake at early hours because they are put to bed so early, PARENTS, please keep them occupied quietly until the posted quiet time ends.  Allowing the children to scream at 5:30 am really travels through the park, especially in quiet campgrounds located near water.  And this goes for the night owls too.  Our voices carry and can be heard further than the neighbouring campsite.
  4. Pets must be on a leash at all times. Noisy, unattended pets will not be tolerated. And remember to mention the breed of your dog when booking, as some parks restrict certain breeds – and please understand that each campground has different rules pertaining to which breeds they do or do not allow, no one is singling you out.
  5. Campfires are not permitted in every campground, this pertains to wood and propane firepits, so please check with the park you are booking to make sure they are permitted. And if wood burning campfires are permitted, use only the supplied fire rings and do not move them.  The campground has deemed that ring area the safest for your campfire enjoyment.  The tossing of anything other than wood into your fire is not permitted, this includes your unwanted food scraps.  They may not all be incinerated by the time the fire is out and this attracts unwanted pests such as mice and raccoons. Also, the burning of plastic cups, cutlery, cigarette butts, bottle caps is not a great practice either.  These items, not only do they not completely burn up and send toxic fumes into the air for you and your family, but they remain in the fire pit long after you are gone and someone will have to remove this debris.  Remember to keep the fire small and under control. Under the Wildfire Act regulations, campfires cannot be larger than 0.5 meters by 0.5 meters – roughly a foot-and-a-half by a foot-and-a-half. Please obey current fire bans.  Also the transferring of firewood, from campground to campground is shied upon by the BC Government because pests in your firewood can destroy our forests.

    Keep Campfires in Fire Ring Provided

    Keep Campfires in Fire Ring Provided

  6. Alcohol is only permitted in registered campsites.
  7. External speaker systems are not allowed at most parks – but if they are, keep it in your campsite by turning the volume down as the rest of the campground may not enjoy your choice of music.
  8. Generators are another area of concern for a lot of campers, not just you – the owner of the generator – but the surrounding campers. Last thing they want to hear is an extremely noisy machine interrupting their quiet time.  When choosing one ask for a demonstration so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Also remember placement of it – try to situate it as far away from your neighbours and follow the parks usage times.  Every campground has certain usage times, usually twice a day.

Always be courteous and respectful of other campers as “It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Keeping you, and your family dog cool while camping in British Columbia

Keeping cool by the water

Keeping cool by the water

While most of us enjoy the hot, lazy, sunny days of summer, it is sometimes a challenge to keep cool and that goes for your family pet too. Here are some ideas that our family have found helpful on our camping trips.

  1. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to overheating than others; dark coloured and/or long- haired dogs are at greater increase risk of overheating. So find a campsite with shade, or make your own shady spot by setting up an umbrella or canopy.  For your dog, you can build your own shady shelter by supporting a piece of cardboard, plywood over two logs of firewood, etc.
  2. Pack a small inflatable kiddies pool, shallow rubber tub or even a Tupperware box to set up in your campsite, keeping in mind the size of your dog. You only need to add a few inches of water to cool your dog’s paws and belly. An added bonus to cool down yourself, is to use the container to soak your feet as well!
  3. Wet a towel and place behind your neck. Have an extra one for your dog to lie on to cool his underside.

    Staying safe on the water

    Staying safe on the water

  4. If your campsite is near a lake or river, consider frequent swims for you and your dog. If your dog has never swum, a doggy life jacket or a swimming floaty could be an aid to introduce your pet to water. On a side note, make sure you only take your dog into the water where they are allowed to swim. Sometimes campgrounds don’t permit dogs in the same swim area as campers.
  5. Keep hydrated. Make sure you and your family drink lots of water. Ensure your dog has a container of accessible water in the campsite at all times, and adding ice cubes will keep the water cool. Also, chewing ice cubes helps reduce your pet’s core body temperature.

    Camping dog

    Camping dog

  6. Protect yourself, children and your dog (especially on their nose) from getting a sunburn by using sun screen. Dogs are susceptible to skin cancer and burn like us. You should use a sunscreen especially formulated for dogs so that when they lick it, it won’t harm them.
  7. Don’t leave your dog in your parked RV or car in the sun with windows rolled up.

Making plans before you camp with your dog

Find campgrounds for you and your dog

More tips on camping with your dog


Published: June 30th, 2016

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