Guaging Outdoor Travel Distances
Tips for Hikers
Potential Hazards When Experiencing the Outdoors
Remote Backcountry Travel
First-Aid / Emergency
Weather / Climate
Back Country Sanitation
Important Numbers & Websites
General Recreational Tips
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Generally speaking, backroads in Canada provide easy access into the backcountry. Cars or RV’s can travel many of the secondary roads, most of which are paved or hard packed gravel. Branching from the secondary and main roads are side roads and trails of many sizes. These routes, marked by thinner black lines and dashed lines on our maps, should be left to the off-road enthusiasts and trail users.
Although we have done our best to classify the road systems on our maps, road and trail conditions can change very quickly. Weather, the status of road systems and the degree of maintenance can all affect the road systems. During industrial hours (6 am to 6 pm) or at times of extreme fire hazard, logging and rural roads may be closed to the public. Other roads may be gated to protect equipment in the area. Furthermore, many roads are becoming deactivated. This can result in bridges and culverts being removed, making the road virtually impassable. Be sure to pay attention to road signs and always watch for logging trucks. It is also recommended to contact the nearest forestry office for information on specific road conditions.
Even if you are travelling on secondary or main roads, always be prepared. Freshly gravelled roads can cause low clearance vehicles to high centre, while the occasional rock can do great damage to the undercarriage. Soft gravel can catch the tires and send you into the ditch, especially when travelling at high speeds.
For the more adventurous, there are many interesting side roads to explore. Trying to classify these roads is quite a difficult task. These roads, if not closed or deactivated, are rarely maintained and are often full of surprises. Mud pits, fallen trees, nasty potholes or even washouts are just a few of the obstacles that can be encountered while on backroads. Although we mark as many of these roads on the maps as possible, we cannot guarantee that they are drivable, even by an ATV.
If you remain cautious and follow the rules of the road, you will be better prepared for navigating any backroad.
Backroads are most often built to allow big trucks access to the woods. Off-highway logging trucks carry huge loads, often in excess of 60 tonnes and are over 31 metres (100 feet) long. With such a large load, these trucks do not move out of your way very easily. Be careful and follow these simple safety guidelines:
- Keep your headlights on at all times
- Drive at or under the speed limit. Travel slower when weather conditions are poor or you know the chance of an encounter with a big truck is high.
- Follow trucks at a safe distance. They have radios, so they know where other trucks are. If the truck you are following pulls over, pull over too—there is probably another truck coming your way. Do not pass loaded trucks unless you know you can make it and even then it is not a good idea.
- Slow down to at least 50 km/h when meeting other vehicles. If you are meeting a loaded haul truck, pull over to the shoulder and stop.
- Avoid active logging areas and always obey all work area signs.
- Never drive Off-Highway Vehicles such as ATV’s, trail bikes and snowmobiles on haul roads.
- Most major haul roads are well-maintained all-weather gravel roads but secondary roads and inactive roads are constructed to different standards and may be impassable at times.
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The equipment required for a trip will vary from trip to trip, especially depending on if you are travelling by bike, on foot or by canoe. If travelling on a bike, be sure your group travels with the basic tools needed to make emergency repairs to your bike, this should definitely include a tire repair kit and pump. For canoeists, a multi tool can come in handy for basic repairs. Many people carry some duct tape, which works well for short term patching.
For all travellers, the basic essential is proper outerwear and footwear. Be sure to dress in layers, in order to enable you to peel off or add clothing as needed to adjust your comfort level. This is extremely important when travelling over high elevation terrain, as sudden weather changes can quickly put a damper on your outdoor fun.
Good footwear cannot be over stated. Once you have experienced the aching feet or blisters that are the result of improper footwear for the activity at hand, you are sure to never make that mistake again.
- Hikers prefer boot type footwear to increase ankle support and traction. This will limit the chance of slipping or rolling over on an ankle.
- Bikers should have properly fitted shoes that do not slip easily from the pedal confine, yet will allow you to get your foot out in the case of a fall.
- Paddlers should be prepared to get their feet wet. Many portages, take-outs and put-ins are muddy or wet.
The following checklist is based on the premise that a portion of your route will be travelling through some rustic terrain:
Day Trip Necessities:
- Camera & film
- Flashlight and/or headlamp
- Bug spray/sunscreen
- First-aid kit (including iodine tablets)
- Bush money (toilet paper) and trowel
- Raingear and/or wind gear
- Multi purpose knife
- Extra socks (surprisingly, they often seem to be an important addition)
- Water (bottles or skins)
- Backpack and/or fanny pack
Long Distance Additional Necessities:
- Extra clothing
- Lantern and/or candles (extra mantles if using a lantern)
- Water purifier
- Sleeping bags
- Biodegradable soap, towel and other personal items (i.e. toothbrush)
- Garbage bags (for garbage and also as a water resistant skin for gear during rain periods)
- Sleeping pad or air mattress
- Lightweight camping stove
- Stove/lantern fuel
- Cooking gear (pots, plates, cups and utensils)
- Extra batteries for flashlight and/or headlamp
- Lightweight collapsible saw
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Estimating the distance that you can cover along a trail or in a canoe is a challenging endeavour because there are many variables that play a role in determining your rate of travel. The main factors include your experience, physical shape, weather and the terrain travelled. With this in mind, we have created a very basic framework of travel times to be used for basic planning purposes only.
The daily averages below are based on continuous travel over multiple days assuming you will travel 6 hours in an 8 hour time frame:
|Lightweight pack, sleeping and eating in a facility each night||25km (15.5mi)||20kg (44lb) pack, tenting, filtering water, cooking meals||15km (9.3mi)|
|Riding light with small pack, emergency supplies and water||60km (37.3mi)||20kg (44lb) in panniers, tenting, filtering water, cooking meals||40km (24.8mi)|
|Lightweight Kevlar Canoe, 20kg (44lb) pack, tenting, filtering water, cooking meals.||20km (12.4mi)|
|Lightweight Kevlar Canoe, 20kg (44lb) pack, tenting, filtering water, cooking meals.||10km (6.2mi)|
|Travelling light with minimum rations with tent and sleeping bag||25km (15.5mi)||Travelling with pack horse carrying full equipment, food and feed||20km (12.4mi)|
To better enjoy a trail, it is recommended to have good footwear and a light comfortable pack. We recommend a shoe designed for trail walking. Trail shoes have a more aggressive tread than regular running shoes and provide increased traction on tight turns, steep and slippery hills, in situations where added support may mean the difference between a safe passage and a sprained ankle. Trail shoes also provide protection from the elements; lightweight nylon and mesh uppers provide increased breathability in hot dry conditions. For wet conditions Gore-Tex XCR offers excellent water-resistance.
When selecting a pack it is best to consider the following; a stable, practical pack to carry your gear makes all the difference, it needs to be light and versatile, it needs to have a variety of pockets and compression straps to hold the load, and it also needs to form to your body. There are a variety of sized packs. Go with a pack that will hold everything you truly require but avoid over packing. If you have a large pack and don't need the space, you will probably end up filling it. Once you have found the perfect pack, get to know it well. Determine where you want the most frequently needed items like food and hydration and the items you may never touch like a first aid kit.
How to choose a pack:
- Lightest weight to function ratio that you need.
- Adjustable chest strap - essential for stability
- Compression straps - stability for load
- Hip pockets - for easy access items - compass, food etc.
- Draw cord closure rather than a zipper - it's easier to pack and it won't break
- Reservoir pouch, bottle pockets, or bungee cords for bottles on shoulder straps - reservoirs are better for large volumes of water; bottles are best if you know there are streams along the way however you may need to bring along a filter.
Along any trail system, there is a general code of etiquette to follow. The code has evolved to ensure safety and limit environmental impact along trails in order for all users to enjoy the route in the same state as you did.
In general, the following sums up the recommended rules for trail travel:
- Travel on marked routes only, especially around farmland and environmentally sensitive area.
- Respect private property and the privacy of nearby residents.
- Take only pictures and nothing else from an area.
- Leave no trace of your travels and carry out all garbage.
- Camp at designated campsites only.
When on a bike or horse the general rule is that horses always have the right of way. Hikers yield to horses and bikers yield to everyone. When on a bike it is often easy to forget about other travellers along the trail. Since many trails are multi-use, bikers have to be aware of other users and anticipate where others may be when travelling along the trail. When passing hikers, be sure to let your presence be known by a call or bell, then slow down or even walk your bike, ensuring safe passage. If everyone follows these simple guidelines, everyone will be able to enjoy trail systems safely.
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Large portions of trails and routes in Canada travel near or through private property; therefore, it is essential to respect private property owner wishes. If you do encounter an unexpected problem with a property owner along a trail or route, simply abide by their wishes and ask for the best way off their property.
Bears can be encountered in many parts of Canada. Black bears are usually found in lower elevation forested regions, while Grizzly Bears prefer more remote, higher elevation areas. Alberta is home to a healthy population of both species of bears. In British Columbia black bears can be found throughout rural and remote areas, while grizzly bears are found in mountainous pockets around the province. Ontario is home to only black bears, which stretch from around Cottage Country all the way north. A small isolated population also still exists along the Bruce Peninsula.
Although the possibility of a bear encounter may seem intimidating, an encounter with any bear is rare. Encountering a grizzly is very rare. Bears, especially black bears, are inherently shy animals and are rarely aggressive to humans.
The best way to avoid an encounter is to make your presence known by making noise. Ringing a bell or singing can alert the animal and if they hear you, it is almost certain they will run away. Be alert in prime habitat areas, such as near rivers or berry patches, while also looking for signs such as hair on trees (used for scratching) or bear scat (feces). When camping in bear country it is essential that you keep your campsite clean and free of garbage. Be sure to hang food and any scented items between two trees well away from the ground, tree trunks and your tent.
If you encounter a bear, it is best to remain calm and back away slowly. While retreating back down the trail, keep an eye on what the bear is doing. All bears will avoid human contact whenever possible and by giving them the space to escape they will almost always take it. If a bear does not retreat and moves closer to you, make your presence noticed.
Black bears will most often make a false charge before an attack, while grizzlies do not usually mess around and will simply attack on the first charge. If you are attacked by a black bear, fight back. Kick, punch and struggle, black bears will often retreat even after an attack. On the other hand, if a grizzly attacks it is best to curl up into the fetal position and protect yourself the best you can until the attack is over.
Of course a can of bear spray can help in warding off both grizzlies and black bears before an attack happens. This highly potent pepper spray has saved many people from bear encounters and is used only when bears become aggressive.
Cougars are found in many parts of rural British Columbia and the mountainous regions of Alberta. The large feline has always been known to take the odd dog and cat, however, it is attacks on humans that will make the news. Luckily, human attacks are extremely rare and are often a case of mistaken identity. The threat that this animal poses is minimal, especially when travelling in groups.
If you encounter a cougar, it is best to act aggressively to scare off the big feline. Cougars are powerful creatures, although they can be easily scared off by throwing rocks, swinging sticks and by yelling. If a cougar does attack you, fight back. Punch, kick and struggle the best you can and you will certainly ward off an attack.
Rattlesnakes are found in British Columbia from the Naramata area south to Osoyoos. In Alberta, the Badlands and hotter areas east of Calgary and Edmonton are the most likely areas to have snakes. In Ontario, the Massasauga Rattlesnake is found along the shore region of the Georgian Bay from Tobermory to Killarney.
Rattlers are rarely encountered in all provinces and can usually be easily avoided. If you do come close to one, back away slowly. The snakes have very poor sight and hearing, making it imperative that you avoid approaching the creature at very close range.
The main biting insects that travellers should be prepared for in Canada are mosquitoes, black flies and ticks. In general, the mosquito population is not as a dramatic hindrance in Alberta and British Columbia as it is in other parts of the country such as Manitoba and Ontario. Mosquitoes are most common in late spring/early summer and often dissipate gradually through the summer months. By the late summer/fall, most areas are relatively mosquito free, although this may not be true in swampy low-lying regions.
Black flies are infamous in Ontario, as the little insect seems to always find a way to bite. At the height of black fly season, you can literally see swarms of bugs hovering over your head looking for a way in. To ward off mosquitoes and black flies it is best to cover your body by wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt. If they are particularly bad, a head net is also helpful. Most Canadian travellers also bring along one of the many natural and not so natural bug sprays to deter the little pests. The more DEET the spray has, the more effective it is (be careful of high concentrations of DEET, these liquids are quite corrosive).
Ticks, such as the wood tick, often find their way up pant legs and into shirts before burrowing into the skin. Ticks usually like to burrow in a protected, hairy area, such as on the head. Ticks are more prevalent in the spring and are best avoided by tucking in your shirt and pants to hinder their travel. The sprays mentioned above can also be effective in warding off this tiny critter.
Even though Canada is home to hundreds of kilometres of cool clear streams and lakes, they are not always as pristine as they seem. They may look like pure, untouched water sources but in reality, many water sources contain the organism Giardia. Giardia causes the sickness better known as ‘beaver fever’, which can be contracted by drinking a contaminated water source. Although the common thought is that animals create beaver fever, it is often created by human excrement during the ever increasing use of the backcountry. To avoid Giardiasis there are three recommended things you can do to backcountry water:
- Use a water filter pump.
- Boil all water for a minimum of ten minutes.
- Use iodine tablets.
The best and most preferred method is to use a filter, as boiling water is a nuisance and iodine tablets taste horrible. The downside is that a good filter systems often cost over a hundred dollars.
There is nothing more serene about sitting around a campfire while enjoying the outdoors. Campfires help keep you warm, cook foods and even keep the bugs away on occasion. The only downfall about campfires is that they are one of the leading causes of forest fires. By adhering to a few guidelines, campfires can be a safe enjoyable experience:
- Select your site with regard to where you could safely place your fire.
- Clear at least a 30 cm (12 in) area around the fire and ensure nothing can be ignited.
- Build fires at least 3 m (10 ft) away from trees, logs or stumps.
- Ensure your fire does not get too big. A large fire over 1 m (3 ft) high or wide is at higher risk to ignite nearby trees and to throw off sparks.
- Have a nearby water source to douse the fire if it becomes a hazard.
- Always attend your campfire and ensure it is completely cold before you leave. Douse the fire well with water and/or smothering it with soil. Afterward, look for any smouldering ashes and ensure they are out.
If there is a fire ban in place in your area do not start a campfire unless it is absolutely essential for survival.
If you see a wildfire call:
|In Alberta||310-000 then 427-FIRE (3473) or *3473 on a cellular phone|
|In British Columbia||1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cellular phone|
|In Ontario||1-888-863-FIRE (3473)|
|In Northwestern Ontario||1-888-284-FIRE (3473)|
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Terrain along some outdoor trips can be very remote, making travel to safety challenging in case of an emergency. If you plan to travel through remote areas it is imperative that you leave a detailed itinerary with friends or family.
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On any trip, especially long distance trips, all travellers in your group should have a basic understanding of first aid. Although injury is rare, anything can happen from a heart attack, a sprained ankle, or simply heat stroke. Your group should be prepared for all situations and have a first-aid kit available. Heat exhaustion, heat stroke and hypothermia are the most common situations to arise.
Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Almost everyone has experienced the effects of heat exhaustion at one time or another. Heat exhaustion is created by salt and water deprivation while in the hot sun. Heat stroke, on the other hand, is a potentially serious condition disabling the body’s ability to regulate its core temperature. Drinking plenty of water and knowing your limits can easily avoid both of these illnesses. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include subtle weakness and can be easily treated by getting into the shade, taking a long break, eating a little and drinking plenty of water.
The over cooling of the core temperature of your body causes hypothermia. This can be caused at any time of the year, especially when travelling in changing climatic regions such as along mountain passes. Cold temperatures, wetness or even wind chill can cause hypothermia. Wetness is perhaps one of the most underestimated causes of hypothermia. During the spring and early summer months, near freezing runoff water can cause hypothermia. Deceivingly, the air temperature may be 10-15°C in the area, but if you are immersed in early season runoff water for less than a minute, hypothermia can set in.
Be aware of the factors and dress in layers in order to remove or add clothing as required to keep comfortable. Symptoms include dizziness, lack of co-ordination, slowing pace, difficulty in speaking and uncontrollable shivering. To treat hypothermia proceed with the following three basic steps:
- Prevent additional loss of body heat (add clothing, blankets, etc.).
- Use external heat sources to warm the victim (i.e., fire, embrace).
- Supply hot fluids and food.
If the victim is wet, remove all wet clothing and quickly change to a dry outfit. If condition persists, seek medical attention.
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For current weather conditions, visit: http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/canada_e.html.
Alberta is made up of two dominant geographical features, the Rocky Mountains and the eastern lowlands. The Rockies are renowned for their dramatic weather changes and storms often appear suddenly and without warning. Travellers should be prepared for sudden weather changes and have a range of clothing options available.
The Rockies do experience warm summer days but evenings are often cool. As you climb into the higher elevations, you should be prepared for almost anything. Snow in July is not uncommon in the elevations of the magnificent Rocky Mountains.
The eastern lowland region of Alberta begins at the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains and dominates the majority of the province heading east. Visitors to this area can expect hot summers and cold winters with the odd early summer snowstorm or winter Chinooks intermixed.
With the dramatic change in geography from Victoria to the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia supports significantly different weather conditions from region to region. In general, the region closer to the Pacific Ocean is a temperate zone that experiences a much milder climate compared to the interior and northern portions of the province.
As well, the mountainous terrain of the province affects weather systems quite dramatically. As you climb into the higher elevated terrain, you should expect varied weather patterns and sudden storms.
Travellers in Ontario will experience hot summers, especially in the months of July and August. When the high temperatures are combined with the high humidity, it can be difficult to cool yourself down.
Winter in Ontario is a typical Canadian winter with plenty of snow and low temperatures. Although areas further south do not experience as –20°C days as areas in northern Ontario, it can get quite cold at times. The famous ‘snow belt’ of Ontario is located inland from the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior stretching as far south as the city of London. Visitors to this area in the winter can expect plenty of snow.
The fringe seasons of spring and fall are perhaps the two most pleasant times in Ontario as temperatures are not stifling hot, nor overly cold. Many travellers in Ontario regard these months as their favourite time of year to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
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Winter camping has gained in popularity over the past few years and is slowly becoming more accepted as a normal form of camping. Obviously, you must dress properly for the harsh temperatures by wearing several layers of clothing including a warm first layer and a water/wind resistant outer layer. If you become too hot during your outing you can always remove a layer to adjust to your comfort zone. Quality insulated foot wear is also essential, as your extremities, such as your hands and feet, are often hard to keep warm in extreme temperatures. Head wear, like a balaclava or wool toque, are also essential on a winter camping trip since most of your body’s heat loss is from your head.
As for shelter on your trip, one of the popular ways to camp in winter is by using a ‘hot tent’. These canvas tents are built similar to traditional military style tents and are fitted with a small wood stove. The stove is set up inside the tent and provides an excellent source of warmth on even the coldest days of winter. These stoves can make it possible to sleep comfortably in plain clothes even while it is –20°C outside.
The more conventional winter camping method is simply tent or quanzee camping. Tents can be quite cold, although on nights above –20°C, they are bearable and can be somewhat comfortable. A quanzee is a shelter built solely of snow and can provide survivable shelter in even –30°C temperatures. If you have never been winter camping before, it is recommended to try it first with someone who has experience in winter camping. A good way to slowly get into winter camping is to first try camping in the late fall or early spring. Try it out at the –5°C range before slowly working your way to camping in the frigid months of January and February.
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As the popularity of backcountry travel increases, there is an even greater responsibility to take care of the areas we love. Decades ago, the common thought was ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Today, it is imperative to ensure we take care of our campsites, trails and wilderness areas.
The following are three basic rules that can go a long way to maintain the beauty of our wild areas:
- Pack out all garbage. It’s ok to burn paper products in your campfire; however, burning garbage such as plastic wrappers and tin foil can release harmful ozone depleting (and other) chemicals into the air. Bring an extra garbage bag to take this garbage back with you.
- Leave cans and bottles at home. They are heavy and are a nuisance to pack out.
- Bring uneaten foods home. Some people think leaving an unused loaf of bread or other food items behind are doing nature a favour. The birds and squirrels do eat this stuff, but so do other nuisance animals such as racoons, foxes and bears. Creating food habits by leaving items behind could eventually result in a bear or other animal seeking out human foods. If packing food out is not desired, then at the very least ensure it is adequately burned in the fire pit.
Have you ever been on a long trip with someone who neglects his or her own hygiene? After a few days without maintaining personal hygiene, travellers can get a little raunchy. Maintaining personal hygiene can go a long way into making you feel better along the trip and ensuring your trip partners want to travel with you again in the future.
Be sure to bring along a compactable toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as a cloth and/or towel for facial and body washing. Although most people believe that soap is required to be truly clean, limit soap use in the backcountry. Try washing with lake or stream water daily and use soap for a good clean about every three days. Remember, soap can have a detrimental effect on the environment if used excessively.
Wash Water Disposal
One of the first faux pas of backcountry sanitation is to use soaps in lakes or streams. Pretty well all shampoos and soaps contain phosphates and several other agents that can seriously harm the environment. Even though some soaps advertise their product as “99.9% Pure” or “Biodegradable” they still contain environmentally harmful agents unless disposed of properly.
For any soap or shampoo to biodegrade, they must be disposed of on land a good distance from water sources. It is recommended to dispose of soaps at least 60 m (197 ft) from water sources. If you need to wash with soap daily, take along a collapsible wash bin for dishes and hair/body washing. This way after you’re done with the soap water it can be easily and safely dumped well away from water sources.
The Outdoor Toilet
It’s not a pretty subject, but it’s one of the main needs in the backcountry. All outdoor travellers should follow these guidelines to ensure safe biodegrading of human waste:
- If available, use privy boxes and outhouses. No one wants to see used toilet paper and other ‘unmentionables’ scattered throughout the forest.
- If a privy box or outhouse is not available dig a privy. Privies (or cat holes) should be well away from water sources (60 m/197 ft away) to prevent water contamination that leads to Giardiasus or ‘beaver fever’. The hole should be 10-15 cm (4-6 in) deep and wider not deeper if more space is needed. If you are staying in the same area for a few days, use the same hole. After each use sprinkle some soil on the site. If you are moving on, cover the hole back up completely.
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|Alberta Off-Hwy Assoc||www.aohva.com|
|Alberta Snowmobile Fed||www.altasnowmobile.ab.ca
|Alberta Conservation Association||1-877-969-9091|
|Fishing in Alberta||www.srd.gov.ab.ca/fw/fishing
|Government of Alberta||gov.ab.ca|
|Outside of Edmonton (Alberta)||310-0000|
|Outside of Alberta||(780) 427-2711|
|Parks and Protected Areas||www.cd.gov.ab.ca/enjoying_alberta/parks
|Report a Poacher||1-800-642-3800|
|Report a Forest Fire||310-FIRE (3473)|
|Camping Association||(403) 453-8570|
|Resort & Campground Assoc||(403) 963-3993|
|Fish and Wildlife Conservation||1-800-663-9453 (Observe, Record and Report)|
|BC Wildlife Federation||www.bcwf.bc.ca
|Ministry of Forests||www.for.gov.bc.ca/|
|Wildfire Information Line||1-888-336-7378|
|To Report Forest Fires||1-800-663-5555
*5555 (cellular phones)
|BC Snowmobile Federation||www.bcsf.org
|Boater Safety Information Line||1-800-267-6687|
|Canadian Firearms Centre||1-800-731-4000 or
|Improper Forestry Practices||1-888-734-4888|
|New Brunswick Trails Council||www.sentiernbtrail.com
|All Terrain Vehicle Federation||www.nbatving.com|
|Federation of Snowmobile Clubs||www.nbfsc.com
|Tourism New Brunswick||www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca
|Travel Nova Scotia|
|Access Nova Scotia Information||www.destination-ns.com/content/where|
|Destination Cape Breton||www.cbisland.com/index|
|Nova Scotia Tourism||www.novascotia.com
|Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture||(902) 485-5056|
|Fishing Guides in Nova Scotia||www.gov.ns.ca/nsaf/sportfishing/fguides|
|Forest Fire/Game Infractions||1-800-565-2224|
|Trout Nova Scotia||www.troutnovascotia.ca|
|Nature Watch Line||(902) 852-5209|
|Nova Scotia Trails||www.novascotiatrails.com|
|All Terrain Vehicle Association||www.atvans.com/main|
|Bicycle Nova Scotia||www.bicycle.ns.ca|
|Trails Nova Scotia||www.trails.gov.ns.ca|
|Provincial Parks Registrations||www.parks.gov.ns.ca/reservations|
|Ministry of Natural Resources||www.mnr.gov.on.ca
|Crime Stoppers (Poaching)||1-800-222-8477|
|Invading Species Hotline||1-800-563-7711|
|Outdoors Card Customer Service||1-800-387-7011|
|Sportfish Contaminant Program||1-800-820-2716|
|Ontario Parks (Reservations)||www.OntarioParks.com
|Ontario Snowmobile Federation||www.ofsc.on.ca
|Environment, Energy & Forestry||www.gov.pe.ca/enveng|
|Boating Safety Information||1-800-267-6687|
|PEI Snowmobile Association||www.peisa.ca
- As the popularity of backcountry travel increases, there is an even greater responsibility to take care of the areas we love, be sure to take all garbage with you and leave only footprints.
- If you plan to travel through remote areas it is imperative that you leave a detailed itinerary with friends or family.
- On any trip, especially long distance trips, all travelers in your group should have a basic understanding of first aid and have a first aid kit available.
- Proper footwear, such as quality hiking boots, can be the difference between a great hike and a painful adventure.
- By drinking plenty of water and knowing your limits, heat stroke/exhaustion can be easily avoided.
- Cold temperatures, wetness or even wind chill can cause hypothermia. Wetness is perhaps one of the most underestimated causes of hypothermia.
- To treat hypothermia, proceed with the following three basic steps: prevent any additional loss of heat, use external heat sources to warm the victim, and supply hot fluids and food.
- Each year dozens of forest fires are started by human negligence. If there is a fire ban in place in your area do not start a campfire unless it is absolutely essential for survival.
- Canada is home to hundreds of kilometres of cool clear streams and lakes. However, it is ideal to carry a water filter, iodine tablets, or boil water for a minimum of 10 minutes before consuming, as many water bodies carry the bacteria commonly referred to as Beaver Fever.
- One of the first faux pas of backcountry sanitation is to use soaps in lakes or streams. For any soap or shampoo to biodegrade, they must be disposed of on land a good distance from water sources.
- Be bear aware. Be sure to never bring in any food into your tent or even items such as toothpaste. All food items should be properly stored in a pack that is hung from a tree at least 5 metres from the ground. Keeping a clean campsite will ensure a fun and bear free camping adventure.
- For all travellers, the basic essential is proper outerwear and footwear. Be sure to dress in layers, in order to enable you to peel off or add clothing as needed to adjust your comfort level.
- Head wear, like a balaclava or wool toque, are essential on a winter trip since most of your body’s heat loss is from your head.
- In order to improve your chances of spotting birds and animals, wear natural colours and unscented lotions.
- Be sure to remember your binoculars so you can observe from a distance and slowly but steadily move forward.
- Early morning and late evenings are generally the best times for wildlife viewing.
- Never approach an animal directly and do not try to bring animals to you by offering them food. This is dangerous to not only the animal but to you as well.
- Remember that river conditions are always changing and advanced scouting is essential when traveling rivers.
- Proper planning of your trip is essential. In general during 4 to 6 hours of travel time you should be able to cover between 10-15 km.
- If there are portages on your trip, a lightweight Kevlar canoe and quality backpacks that properly fit you will make a big difference of your comfort level on a portage.
- It is important to make sure you are aware of all fishing rules and regulations for your area.
- Practicing catch and release will greatly help ensure the future viability of sport fisheries.