Provincial Camping Ethics and Regulations
Know Before You Go
BC Parks is dedicated to preserving the natural state of parks while also
providing recreational access to its features. Park regulations and policies
protect park values, ensuring a quality experience for all visitors, both today
and in years to come.
Frontcountry Camping Ethics
General Campground Regulations
Many campgrounds have specific rules and guidelines. Please check the relevant BC Parks web page before visting the campground.
- Visitors must leave and park gates are closed by 11:00 pm, unless otherwise
stated in the park. Only registered campers are allowed in the
campsite after 11:00 p.m. Check information at the park for specific details,
as some park gates close or open earlier.
- Excessive noise is not permitted. Please remember that sound travels further
in open air, especially music and loud talking.
- Liquor consumption is prohibited anywhere in the park with the exception
of your campsite.
- Barbecues must be used on the ground unless barbecue attachments are provided
on picnic tables.
- Firearms: For your safety, firearms are prohibited. For more information,
go to Fishing & Hunting
- Bears: To avoid potential problems with bears, lock your food in your vehicle
at night. Be sure to use the garbage containers provided and maintain a
clean campsite. Never feed or approach bears. More information
on bear safety.
- Trees and shrubs are easily damaged; do not use them for wiener sticks.
Leave flowers and others plants to grow.
Campfires may not be permitted in
all parks. Leaving your campfire unattended is a serious offence.
Firewood is no longer provided as part of the park camping fee. Firewood
can be purchased from the Park Facility Operator in some parks or you can
bring your own wood. Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary.
Please don't gather firewood from the area around
your campsite or elsewhere in the park. Dead wood is an important habitat
element for many plants and animals; it adds organic matter to the soil.
You can conserve firewood and help improve air quality by keeping your campfire
small. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be imposed; some parks
may use communal fire rings. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking,
or charcoal briquettes in a hibachi may also be used.
Refer also to backcountry/wilderness area campfire information.
the frontcountry parks (i.e. vehicle accessible camping), pets
must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in the day-use/beach
areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behavior
and must dispose of their excrement.
Refer also to backcountry/wilderness area pet information.
Vehicles and Roadways
Parking is permitted
only in designated areas and on the gravel
portion of campsites. Parking is not permitted on roadsides.
Bicycles may only be ridden on park roads and on designated trails. Vehicles used in parks must be licensed and operated by licensed
- Swimming areas protect
swimmers within marker buoys. All watercraft
and water-skiers must stay outside markers. Lifeguards are not in attendance
in BC Parks.
- Trails are planned to take you safely through the most interesting and
beautiful parts of our parks without damaging sensitive and unique plant
and wildlife habitats. Stay on the trails.
Backcountry Camping Ethics
British Columbia's wilderness areas are a popular destination for both BC residents and visitors. However, over-use and improper travelling and camping practices in the backcountry have led to damage to the natural environment and unfulfilled wilderness recreation experiences.
To retain the high quality of our wilderness experiences, we all must accept responsibility for minimizing our impact.
Damage to, collection or
removal of any natural resources is prohibited.
Motor vehicles, including motorcycles, ATV's and similar vehicles, are
restricted to the vehicle roads and parking lots.
Leave No Trace
Everyone who uses the backcountry must strive for "Leave No Trace" camping. This is essential for backcountry camping. Read the BC Parks "Leave No Trace" information.
When camp is broken, there should be absolutely no sign of human use.
Pets In the Backcountry
Taking pets into the backcountry, especially dogs, is not recommended, and in some parks is not permitted. Although some people feel that their pet is a part of the family, they can disturb other campers, foul trails and create potential for
problems with bears.
Dogs and other domestic animals are not permitted in Bowron Lake, Garibaldi,
Kokanee Glacier and Cathedral provincial parks. Refer to the specific BC Parks Protected Area web page or consult with BC Parks staff to determine whether pets are permitted where you intend to visit.
Campfires in the backcountry
Use portable gas stoves for cooking instead of campfires whenever possible.
Campfires are prohibited in many backcountry areas, particularly those containing alpine and sub-alpine areas, or other sensitive environments. Refer to the specific BC Parks Protected Area web page or consult with BC Parks staff to determine whether campfires are permitted where you intend to visit.
Where campfires are permitted, use approved fire-rings or pits to build your fire.
Where campfires are permitted, and approved fire-rings or pits are not available, follow these guidelines when building your campfire:
- Prepare your campfire by removing all leaves, twigs and
other flammable material from an area extending at least 30 centimetres around
- Be sure to scrape or dig down to mineral soil.
- Build your
campfires at least three metres from any log,
stump, snag, standing tree or wooden structure
Campfires cannot be larger than 0.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in diameter, or roughly a foot-and-a-half by a foot-and-a-half. People must also have a shovel or eight litres of water nearby, and build a fireguard around their campfires by scraping down to the dirt and clearing away twigs, leaves and needles.
Having a fire larger than 0.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in diameter could result in a fine of $345.
- Equip yourself with
a shovel or a pail of water containing
at least 8 litres and keep near the fire at all times.
- Attend your campfire at all
times and be certain it is extinguished
before leaving it. Sift the ashes with your fingers to be sure.
Canoeing and Kayaking Ethics
Click here for additional ethics for water recreationalists
For those engaged in geocaching activities, BC Parks has developed a geocaching policy to help protect the natural values of BC’s provincial parks. Find out more about BC Parks’ Geocaching Policy [PDF 72KB]