Here are ways to help make your park visit safer and enjoyable.
How to Dress
- Even in summer, be prepared for wet, cool conditions. West Coast weather can change quickly
- Dress in layers
- Wear clothing that stays warm when wet and dries quickly (i.e. fleece - not cotton)
- Wear appropriate footwear (i.e. sturdy hiking shoes)
- In summer, wear sun-protective clothing (i.e. hats with brims)
- In wilderness parks, such as Sea to Sea and Sooke Hills Wilderness, weather can change quickly and include heavy snowfall in the winter.
What to Bring
Always carry a daypack filled with essentials, in case you need to stay out longer than planned. Here are some suggestions:
- current map of area
- snacks and extra food
- flashlight and spare batteries
- large orange plastic bag (useful as rainwear, shelter or for signalling)
- extra clothing in a waterproof plastic bag (i.e. raingear, hat, gloves)
- pocket knife
- waterproof matches/lighter
- fire starter paste or cubes
- compass (learn how to use it before you set out)
- first aid kit (be familiar with the contents)
- pencil and paper
- emergency tarp or thermal blanket
- pack of tissues
- cell phone
- plastic bags for pet droppings
- Plan your trip and stick to the plan.
- Check weather forecasts before heading out.
- Make sure your equipment is in good working order.
- Know the trails of the parks you visit. Read park brochures and information kiosks.
- Stay on designated trails.
- Hike with a friend or in a group.
- Leave a trip plan with a friend. If you don't return on schedule, your friend can contact emergency personnel.
- Be prepared to stay out longer than planned.
- If lost, make yourself visible and stay where you are until help arrives.
- Be aware of wildlife and exercise caution in wilderness areas with cougars, bears and other large omnivores.
These habits help to minimize the risk of human-wildlife conflict, and to protect yourself and large carnivores:
- Stay alert and be aware of wildlife.
- Exercise caution in wilderness areas with cougars, bears and other large omnivores. As a park visitor, you share this natural area with wildlife such as bears, cougars and wolves, which depend on this park for their survival.
- Do not approach wildlife and always keep at a safe viewing distance (30 to 100 metres).
- Do not feed wildlife or leave behind food or garbage.
- Ensure all food is stored properly and not left unattended.
- Do not leave children or pets unattended.
- Report wildlife-human interactions where public safety may be at riskto the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1.800.663.9453.
- Never swim alone, and look before diving. Lakes contain hidden hazards like rocks, ledges and logs.
- Remember, lifeguard service is not provided in regional parks.
- If you’re a new swimmer, stay shallow. Don’t go past your belly button. Swim with a buddy.
- Remember, inflatables and life jackets are not as safe as adult supervision.
- Be sun safe. Wear sun screen and a hat. Drink lots of water.
Safety is your personal responsibility. Be prepared for possible hazards and always exercise caution. Remember that if you have an emergency, it could take several hours for help to come./p>
- Cell phone coverage is limited in some parks.
- Turn off your phone when not in use to conserve the battery.
- In case of emergency call 911.
- Report wildlife-human interactions where the public may be at risk to the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1.877.952.7277.
- Report a wildfire to 1.800.663.5555 or *5555 from a mobile phone.
- Report park violations or animal control issues to 250.478.3344.