The capital region is blessed with an abundance of parks, beaches, forests and hundreds of kilometres of trails to explore.
But as more people get out to experience these spaces, it’s essential that we remember the essentials of responsible visitation – our Trail Etiquette.
Why? CRD Parks and Trails get millions of visitations every year and the impacts of individual actions add up fast. We must protect these spaces, both for the flora and fauna that make their home here and to protect the parks we love for future generations.
And in addition to several species and ecological communities within the CRD at risk of becoming extinct, regional parks are also home to plants and animals culturally significant for First Nations that must be left for the descendants of these ancestral lands.
While behaviours such as illegal campfires and smoking can present major immediate risks to wildlife, other park visitors and parks as a whole, other behaviours, like hiking off-trail or picking plants and flowers, can also cause significant damage.
Here’s how to get out and enjoy our park spaces safely and responsibility:
- Always stay on the trail. Hiking or cycling off-trail is environmentally damaging and could disturb wildlife, sensitive ecosystems and culturally significant sites. CRD Regional Parks trails factor in a buffer zone between human activity and sensitive areas that other, unsanctioned trails may not. By remaining on authorized trails you help protect these lands for the ecosystems and cultural activities that depend on them. The same goes for dogs. Dogs travelling off-trail or uncontrolled disturbs sensitive areas, disrupts wildlife and can attract or spook a predator such as a bear, cougar or wolf.
- Know before you go. Ensure you’re using authorized trails by first checking CRD Parks Maps online and by following in-park signage. Any other trail map source, including online apps, open-source maps and web forums, will show both sanctioned and unsanctioned trails – trails that may not be well-maintained, enjoyable to use, or safe for you or for park ecosystems.
- Know that your choices matter – With so many visitors to CRD Regional Parks and Trails every year, thinking “I’m only one person” to justify poor trail etiquette is harmful. That garbage or dog waste you’re leaving behind? Not only does it pollute, it’s also a choking hazard for wildlife. Individual actions add up fast, and we all have a responsibility to help protect the parks we love. Stay on trail, leave no trace, take only memories and pack out everything that you pack in.
- Share the Trail – When everyone is #TrailSmart, it’s easier to share the trail. Remember to keep to the right, yield to others and always alert other people before you pass them. All three Regional Trails and some regional park trails are multi-use, which means all who can safely walk, pedal or wheel are welcome.
- Cruise with Courtesy – Whether on foot or on wheels, when you choose to use CRD Regional Parks and Trails, you’re choosing to safely share the trails with others. Consider a nod, wave or smile when passing others – together we can create a culture of compassion where sharing the trail is an opportunity, not a challenge.