islandparent Featured Six Ways to Celebrate Island Trails

Six Ways to Celebrate Island Trails

Parks and recreation sites are open across B.C. This summer, British Columbians will be able to camp—close to home and throughout the province.

We’re blessed with an incredible network of recreational trails across the province. But with so many of us heading out, responsible recreation is more important than ever. So it’s a great time to revisit the most important principles for protecting our wild places, while you head out for your nature fix.

1. Plan ahead, be prepared.

Planning ahead is the start of any great trip. That’s especially true right now, with more people are getting outside and trying to practice physical distancing at the same time. Before you head out, make sure you:

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• Have checked for closures at BC Parks or Recreation Sites and Trails BC. Remember some trails, parks, and facilities are still closed, and those closures should be respected.

• If possible, plan to visit a quieter trail, or at a quieter time.

• Don’t head out in large groups; 2-6 people is perfect.

• Like always, plan for the weather and bring all the gear you need to stay safe and deal with emergencies.

2. Bring your clean trip kit.

This is a new one: the BC Government is asking everyone to bring a “clean trip kit” when they visit parks and trails. A “clean trip kit” includes disposable gloves, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Remember, washrooms and visitor centres might be closed, so you need to be prepared to stay clean and safe.

3. Pack it in, pack it out.

Like always, it’s crucial to pack out what you pack in. Garbage, gloves, toilet paper—whatever arrives at the trailhead with you should leave with you. Remember, there might not be garbage cans or garbage collection in parks right now. And there’s likely to be more trash than ever, especially with people bringing gloves and other PPE to the trails. So take responsibility for your own trash and keep the trails clean for other users.

4. Stick to the trail.

Sticking to the trail protects the delicate ecosystems and habitats that surround trails. Wherever possible, only walk and ride on established trails. At the same time, it’s important to maintain 2 metres of physical distancing wherever possible. That means keeping an eye on who else is using the trails and planning ahead. Look for open spaces where you can pass on the trail without damaging plants and wildlife.

5. Share the trails.

The parks and trails are going to be busy this summer. Hikers, bikers, runners, horses—everyone’s excited to be out. So it’s especially important to be respectful, considerate, and kind when you’re outside. Give way to equestrians—and hikers, if you’re on a bike—and move to the right to let people pass. And of course, say hi, be friendly, and communicate clearly with everyone you meet.

6. Stay informed.

Finally, stay up to date with the latest information. BC Parks, Recreation Sites and Trails BC, and the BC Centre for Disease Control all have the latest guidelines and provincial health orders.

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