Trail Safety

Travelling the Trans Canada Trail can be an exciting adventure. But it can also be potentially hazardous. BC’s Trans Canada Trail is a work in progress. Portions of the trail are remote and users will encounter sections (including bridges, trestles and tunnels) that may not yet be fully upgraded.

The following guidelines can help you plan ahead for a safe and enjoyable trails experience.

ALL TRAIL USERS

  • Share the Trail. The Trans Canada Trail is a shared corridor for a variety of participants: hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers, where possible.
  • Be aware that on some sections of the trail, motorized equipment may be utilized for farming, forestry or other purposes.
  • Respect the rights of other trail users and the adjoining land owners.
  • Where the trail corridor is grazed, don’t disturb the stock. Respect open and closed gating arrangements.
  • Where agricultural activities such as orchards are nearby, keep to the trail.
  • Use designated public services and access points. Never leave vehicles blocking adjacent properties or the trail route.
  • Obey all posted signs.
  • Please don't litter - pack out what you pack in.
  • Please keep your dog on a leash or at home. Dogs can be a nuisance to others, and may harass livestock and wildlife.
  • Please do not collect natural materials along the trail. Flowers, trees, plants and even rocks are part of the trail’s natural resources.
  • Leave heritage features in place. BC law forbids the removal of archaeological material or historical artifacts.
  • Observe all fire restrictions and take all due care with fires.

Before you leave

  • Ensure you have the proper equipment on hand including water, extra clothing and food, a bike repair kit including extra bike tubes, a knife, flashlight, map, compass, fire starter, matches, sunglasses and a first aid kit.
  • Use common sense and recognise your limitations.
  • Advise family or friends of your travel plans before you leave.
  • Recognize that much of the trail in BC is remote with little immediate access to services. You must be prepared to be self reliant in case of emergencies.

For more safety information, check out the following Web pages:
Destination Outdoors - http://www.destinationoutdoors.com/
Great Outdoor Recreation Page - http://www.gorp.com/gorp/health/main.htm

While cycling along BC’s Trans Canada Trail:

  • Watch out for other trail users on the Trans Canada Trail, especially when approaching corners and blind spots.
  • Make sure your speed is appropriate for current trail conditions, crowding and visibility levels.
  • When passing other trail users, use a bell and give adequate warning.
  • In all circumstances yield to pedestrians.
  • Stay on marked trails. Riding off the beaten path can damage local vegetation.
  • Walk across bridges and trestles. Approach tunnels with care.
  • Don’t trespass on private property.

Encountering Wildlife

Some sections of the Trans Canada Trail run through bear and cougar country. It’s very important to know how to avoid bears and cougars, and what to do if you encounter them. Please take the time to review important wildlife safety material prepared by the BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. We recommend that you read the "Bears and Cougars Brochure" available from many parks and information centres.

Carrying a package of bear bangers (small fireworks launched from a pen-style launcher) are an excellent way to frighten away large animals and are effective on cougars as well as bears, in addition to being light and easy to carry. Prepare yourself for the loud explosion when launching.

A marine handheld distress flare (Type C) is reported to be useful as a defensive weapon against aggressive animals as it creates a large, intimidating light that you can hold at arm's length. These flares burn for up to 1 minute at extremely high temperatures. Bear spray is also an effective weapon but does require proximity and accuracy, and must be registered with your local police at the time of purchase.

For smaller animals, such as dogs, a simple squirt from a water bottle is an ideal way to curb aggression without offending dog owners.

ALWAYS hang your food at night or purchase a bear-proof food container.