The Fraser Valley’s vast waterways and mountains are replete with new experiences and places for you to explore. Before heading out on your next adventure, remember that the wilderness can be a wild and unforgiving place for those who are under-prepared. From the novice to experienced explorer, please keep the following in mind as you plan and prepare for your adventure in the Fraser Valley!
- Know before you go. Research the different species that also call this region home, and know how to stay safe in the case of an encounter.
- Always carry bear spray and keep it within reach when in the wilderness. Make noise by talking or carrying a bear bell to alert any nearby animals of your presence.
- If you do encounter a larger animal, such as a deer, elk or moose, stay at least 30 metres, or three buses away. For bears, coyotes, cougars and wolves, stay at least 100 metres, or 10 buses away.
- Keep your distance from wildlife, particularly young animals, as their mothers tend to be close by and can act aggressively towards people who approach their babies.
- Do not feed wildlife. Doing so can lead to the animal becoming accustomed to people and viewing them as a food source, which can lead to dangerous human-animal encounters and, potentially, to the animal being destroyed.
- If you are camping, keep your campsite as clean as possible and place all food and attractants in bear caches
- Travel after sunrise and before sunset to avoid peak feeding times for many animals.
- Stay close together with travel companions and children.
- Keep all pets on a leash to avoid wildlife interactions.
- Respect park/area closures and restrictions.
- Do not venture off of designated trails.
- Always check BC Wildfire Services for up-to-date information on fire bans and fire safety tips.
- Always respect and follow all fire bans.
- Minimize the impact of campfires by always monitoring any open flame and fully extinguishing fires.
- Use the required floatation devices for your activity—read the label on each floatation device, and ensure that it is the right size for the wearer and is Transport Canada approved.
- Stay well within your comfort zone—do not swim too far from shore. Opt instead to swim parallel to the shore.
- Only jump into designated swimming and diving areas, and check for swimmers and other objects above and below the surface before taking the plunge.
- Never mix alcohol and water activities.
- Pay close attention to those around you and know the signs of someone who is drowning.
- Check the weather forecast ahead of time and plan accordingly.
- Bring a few extra layers in case temperatures drop or the clothes you’re wearing become wet.
- Adapt to changes in the weather, which can occur rapidly, and be prepared to head back or seek shelter if necessary.
- NIn the case of a storm, seek shelter as soon as possible. Be aware that trees and tree branches can fall to the ground during wind storms.
- In the case of a lightning storm, avoid standing next to such things as tall, solitary trees, ridgelines, peaks and metal or graphite objects.
- Navigation—you can use maps loaded onto a phone or other GPS-enabled device to help keep you on the trail. Make sure that all devices are fully-charged before setting out, and switch mobile phones to flight mode when on the trail—most backcountry trails are outside of cell reception, so you won’t be getting any calls or texts anyway—to conserve battery life. Place devices in a waterproof sleeve or container if they are not waterproof. Keep devices as warm as possible by placing them close to your body or another source of heat, as cold temperatures also drain battery life.
- Light—bring a headlamp or other source of illumination in case you are outside in low light or darkness. Many cellphones have a built-in flashlight setting, but it is easier to wear a headlamp when walking or hiking.
- Sun protection—bring a hat and sunscreen to prevent sunburn between the late spring to early fall seasons. Note that UV exposure is greater at higher elevations and when reflected off of snow, water, sand and pavement.
- First Aid—bring a first aid kit that contains essentials for dressing cuts, sprains, burns, blisters, etc.
- Tarp/shelter—it’s a good idea to always have something for a makeshift shelter just in case you need to spend the night in the wilderness or the weather changes suddenly.
- Nutrition—bring extra snacks not only for the trip, but that could also tide you over for a day or two.
- Water—carry more than enough water for your trip, often at least 1.5-2 litres, along with a water filter or water purification tablets to refill from wilderness water sources.
- Clothes—pack extra layers to change into in case you get wet or to layer up with should you start to feel cold. Rain is a common occurrence in the Fraser Valley, so having quick access to waterproof layers is a good idea when there’s precipitation in the forecast.
Bring these top 10 essentials in your pack the next time you set off on an outdoor adventure:
Search and Rescue
BC Search and Rescue teams are community-based volunteer organizations that provide emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Volunteers respond to hundreds if not thousands of incidents each year, and save countless lives. These highly trained individuals are available to respond to emergencies only. To protect yourself and assist them in the unlikely event that you need their help, create a Trip Plan by downloading the BC AdventureSmart app and filling out the app’s Trip Plan before you hit the trail.
More adventure-ready resources:
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