Are you feelin the heat yet? Here on the Sunshine Coast we sure are, and that’s a surefire (please pardon the pun) sign that the real meat of summer is here. Soooooo what does that mean? CAMPING SEASON!! Even though we have no doubt you are a very responsible camper, it never hurts to have a little run-through of a few camping/hiking safety tips to ensure you get the most out of your experience, and the least out of your first aid kit.
1. A Boy Scout is ALWAYS prepared:
There are fewer things worse than showing up at a campsite, ready to kick back and relax only to find…no campsites available. While the Sunshine Coast has multiple campgrounds, we always recommend doing your research ahead of time to see if the campground you are planning to visit requires reservations or simply operates on a first come first serve basis. Also be sure to check if there are any applicable fees. And while we would also love to tell you that the Sunshine Coast always lives up to its name, it does rain here, so if you are hoping to do some hiking during your trip we recommend packing for any occasion. If it doesn’t rain, no harm done! If it does, you’re saved from the squelching sounds created by puddles in your shoes!
2. Maybe don’t take the path less travelled…
We understand the attraction of blazing your own trail – and definitely when it comes to the metaphorical path of life, have at er! – however, when exploring the beautiful ecosystems of the Sunshine Coast we respectfully ask that you keep to the marked trails. This applies to where you choose to pitch your tent as well if you are planning some backcountry camping. Chances are the optimum set-up locations will be obvious (ie. clear, hard packed earth, with little foliage). This is the most respectful way to enjoy the stunning setting you find yourself in, and promise others will be allowed to do the same for many years to come.
3. Leave no trace!
Does a bear poop in the woods? Yup, but we let that slide. Humans? Not so much. If you find yourself out in nature and suddenly “nature calls”, unless there is a nearby outhouse, best practice says pop a squat at least 70 paces away from the trail. Not only does this give you privacy, but it prevents water contamination and anyone stumbling across your…urm, deposit?…later! Digging a deep hole to be covered over post-business is also much appreciated!
A great snack bag is the must for any camping trip, but be sure to adhere to the “pack in pack out” mentality. Nature is always most..well, natural…when any and all man-made objects are removed. Even if you eat like a squirrel and everything you pack in is biodegradable, it still takes a while to break down, and could attract some unwanted visitors for the next group of campers after you.
4. Don’t be that kid who cried wolf…we all know what happened to him
Just like you wouldn’t take a dip in the piranha tank at the aquarium with a wound and expect to come back out without a few nibble marks, whenever you venture into the habit of another species you need to go in with your eyes open. The chances of you having a dangerous encounter with local wildlife are fairly low – it is true that in general they are more afraid of you than you are of them – but the possibility still exists. Don’t let it discourage you from getting out there and adventuring! Just make sure you take the appropriate precautions. Be bear and cougar aware, and even though they are adorable, please don’t feed the squirrels. In addition, please familiarise yourself with safe wildlife viewing practices and distances. And if your four-legged friend is joining you, be sure to always have the leash handy just in case.
5. FIRE IN THE HOLE!
Actually, no fires, no holes, no fires in holes. As of July 6th the Sunshine Coast is on an official fire ban, so as much as we would love to help out in the toasting of marshmallows and warming of hands, alas we cannot. Our sunsets create some pretty spectacular sky fires, but that’s where they gotta stay.
6. Use your words
Sharing is caring. When you are out in the wilderness, hiking or camping, at times it may feel as though you have the world to yourself. BUT, you are among friends. Be respectful of others in the backcountry, call out if you are cruising fast downhill on a mountain bike. Keep track of your posse so there is room on the trail for all, and if you have some tunes bumpin in the campground keep them low (or, ya know, headphones are a thing!) and turn them off at a reasonable hour. That way you won’t wake up with grumpy neighbors…and if you do, you best plan to have plenty of coffee to offer in compensation.
7. Take only pictures, leave only footsteps
While there is plenty opportunity to bring home stocks of goodies from your Sunshine Coast trip, we do ask that these do not come from an ecosystem that has need of them. Photos are encouraged (not too close to the wildlife though), but even something as simple as removing a rock may have just left a bug homeless. Be sure to share your great photos & videos with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube using #sunshinecoastbc.
8. HAVE FUN!
As cheesy as it sounds, the ultimate goal of getting out there to camp and hike is to have fun! So have fun, but be smart, and be safe, to help us keep the Sunshine Coast looking pristine for generations to come. If you are need of some additional inspiration – things to do, places to see, people to meet – we’ve got all the info you could ever need! Looking for something you don’t see? Feel free to shoot us a message on any of our social media channels (facebook, instagram, or twitter), or email.
For additional information and tips, Leave No Trace Canada has some great recommendations.