Victoria/Fraser Valley – Conservation officers, natural resource officers and park rangers are ramping up patrols over the May long weekend to help ensure British Columbians have a safe and enjoyable holiday.
Increased patrols will be targeted at recreation sites, backcountry access, angling, boat safety and hunting activities. The enhanced enforcement will focus on environment, fish and wildlife regulations, as well as the use of parks and recreation areas.
Also this season, the Conservation Officer Service takes on responsibility for enforcing off-road vehicle regulations. The increased presence of conservation officers in these areas will help promote compliance, discourage illegal activities and protect B.C.’s sensitive ecosystems for future generations.
Most provincial parks and recreational sites will be open for the long weekend. Visitors planning to get outdoors for the holiday are encouraged to visit the BC Parks website and the Recreation Sites and Trail BC websites for up-to-date information.
Here are some tips and safety information to remember over the long weekend:
- Many campgrounds have specified rules and guidelines. Visitors are asked to comply with the posted rules.
- Gates in provincial parks and some recreation sites are closed at 11 p.m., unless otherwise stated. Only registered campers are allowed in campsites after 11 p.m.
- Excessive noise is not permitted. Please remember that sound can travel far in the open air, especially music and loud talking.
- Liquor consumption is prohibited in parks, with the exception of your own campsite.
- Barbecues must be used on the ground unless barbecue attachments are provided on picnic tables.
- To avoid problems with bears, lock your food in your vehicle at night. Use the garbage containers provided and maintain a clean campsite. Never feed or approach bears.
- Designated swimming areas within marker buoys are intended to protect swimmers. All watercraft and water-skiers must stay out of these areas.
- Check for local campfire bans and restrictions before you begin your holiday: http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- Campfires cannot be larger than 0.5 metres high or 0.5 metres wide.
- Never light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material.
- Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish your campfire.
- You must maintain a one-metre fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, kindling, etc.) have been removed.
- Make sure that the campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
- Anyone who lights a campfire is legally responsible for making sure it doesn’t escape. You could be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs if your negligence results in a wildfire.
- Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.
Other fire safety tips
- Anyone riding an all-terrain vehicle or dirt bike should use a spark arrestor, check the condition of the muffler, stay on dirt paths and avoid tall grasses and weeds.
- Smokers must dispose of cigarette butts and other smoking material responsibly, making sure that they are completely extinguished.
Off road vehicles
- Respect the environment when riding off-road vehicles and use trails that are designated for motorized use.
- Most provincial parks are closed to off-road vehicle use unless posted otherwise.
- Operators of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) are reminded that these vehicles must be insured if they are driven on forest service roads. For more information visit: www.icbc.com/vehicle-registration/specialty-vehicles/Pages/Off-road-vehicles.aspx
- Keep vehicles out of sensitive sites that are easily damaged, such as wetlands, grasslands, alpine areas and subalpine environments.
- Failure to comply with regulations could result in a fine of $575 or (in more serious cases involving damage) up to $100,000 and a year in jail.
- Make sure you have a valid angling license and are aware of angling regulations for the waters in your area, including gear and bait restrictions.
- If you are operating a small vessel, ensure that you have your operator’s license with you and be aware of safety regulations.
- For more information, please visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/
Pets must be kept on a leash at all times within provincial parks and in some recreation sites. Pets are not allowed inside park buildings.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation offers a reward up to $2,000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone who breaks wildlife laws, vandalizes private property or disobeys other property laws.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 FREE toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.
Report suspicious activities and environmental damages to the Conservation Officer Service’s toll-free, 24-hour Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1 877 952-RAPP (7277), or call *7277 on your mobile device.
BC Parks: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks
Discover Camping: https://secure.camis.com/Discovercamping/
Recreation Sites and Trails BC: www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/default.aspx
BC Wildfire Service: http://bcwildfire.ca
Fire restrictions and bans: http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp
Hunting and fishing regulations: www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/