Island Air - Float Plane Vacations

BC Wilderness Camping Tips/Guidelines

It is important to preserve our wonderful Vancouver Island and BC forests. At Island Air, your safety and satisfaction are our priority. We strive to give the best service possible to you while providing a wilderness adventure of your dreams.

To ensure a safe, memorable camping holiday while appreciating the wilderness, we have put together the following guidelines. We ask that all our guests make every effort to follow these guidelines and attempt to "leave no trace" during their wilderness adventure getaway.

Whether you spend an hour or a week in the wilderness, there are many steps you can take to help preserve our forests and wildlife for the future.

Quick Links:
Garbage
Wildflowers & Plants
Wildlife
Bears
Campfires
Canoeing

Garbage: Leave No Trace
Carry out what you carry in.
Garbage should be collected and returned to our base camp in Courtenay on Vancouver Island. Garbage must never be left lying around, as it can attract bears who are accustomed to rummaging garbage.

Bears who become accustomed to garbage and people lose their fear of humans and can become dangerous. Don't burn garbage in your campfire.The residue can attract hungry wildlife with their keen sense of smell and can cause safety problems for both you and the animals.

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Native Wildflowers, Plants and Trees
Leave flowers, trees, etc where they are.

  • Do not pick flowers or step on them [when possible].
  • Follow trails when walking as a group.
  • Without a trail, pick the least-damaging route and walk in single file to minimize damage to native flowers, plants and trees.
  • Never chop down live trees for firewood.

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Respect Wildlife
British Columbia forests are teeming with wildlife.
It is not uncommon to see birds such as Eagles, Hawks, Owls, Waterfowl, Hummingbirds, smaller animals such as Squirrels and Chipmunks, Beaver, Raccoons, Otter, Mink, as well as Deer, Moose, Cougar and Black Bears and Grizzlies.

Our rivers and lakes are teeming with fish, including salmon and trout. Complex ecosystems have developed over thousands of years, from insects to bears. These ecosystems are fragile and should be treated with respect, as humans are relative newcomers here.

Do not disturb wildlife.
Keep your distance and take pictures with a zoom lens. Leave young animals alone; they might look like they have been abandoned, but it is likely that their mother will be returning for them. Deer especially do this; young fawns are left in a "hiding place" while the mother goes to forage for food, and they remain there until their mother returns. Never approach closely or touch these animals. Leave bird's nests alone, as well.

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Bears
Bears are common outside of urban areas throughout British Columbia. Black bears are common on Vancouver Island and other islands in the Strait of Georgia. Grizzlies are generally found on the mainland but they are good swimmers and have been spotted on outlying islands.

  • Cook and store food well away from (and downwind from) your tent.
  • Clean your fish in the middle of the lake.
  • Do not burn garbage in a campfire.
  • Keep food, garbage, toothpaste, soap and fragrant items in an airtight bag beyond the reach of bears, about 5 metres above ground.
  • Never store food in your tent
  • Do not wear clothing that smells of food when you go to bed.
  • When walking in the wilderness, make noise so bears can hear (and avoid) you.
  • Never approach a bear, as they can be unpredictable.
  • Never come between a mother bear and her cub.
  • Never run from a bear: Back away slowly while speaking softly. All bears can run faster than people and can climb trees.

For more information on bears in British Columbia, visit http://www.wspa.ca/bearsafe/bearsafe.html

Safety Guide to Bears in the Wild, a BC Environment publication

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Wilderness Campfires
Forest fires burn through thousands of hectares of forest in BC each year and you must be careful to ensure your activities do not cause a forest fire.

You will be equipped with a camp stove, which is generally what you should use for cooking.

  • Never build a fire near dry areas, especially when dry leaves and grass, dead twigs and the like are abundant.
  • Never build a fire on a windy day.
  • Keep the fire small and under control at all times. After the fire has burned out, embers can remain hot and pose a fire danger. Knock or pull the logs apart and pour lots of water over the coals. Make certain that nothing is left smoking, glowing or hot.

Summer's hot, dry weather can increase the risk of forest fires and cause a ban on open fires. Please visit http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/pScripts/Protect/WildfireNews/Bans.asp to find out about fire restrictions in the area you plan to camp.

For more campfire tips, visit http://www.stayingalive.mb.ca/campfire_safety.html

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Canoeing Safety
Common sense goes a long way on the water. Below are some reminders for canoe safety.

  • Always wear your life jacket.
  • Make sure your canoe is sitting level in the water. If the bow is riding out of the water, reposition people and cargo to even out the load.
  • Wear layered clothing and consider bringing dry clothing sealed in a plastic bag for emergencies.
  • Bring a hat and wear shoes.
  • Pay attention to the weather. Don't go out if the weather is looking bad and head back early if it looks like a storm is coming.
  • Don't attempt to paddle in creeks and rivers after heavy rains - these tend to flood and run much more quickly, making the situation dangerous for inexperienced paddlers.It is always safer to paddle with another person.
  • If you capsize your canoe, hang onto the canoe! You may think you can swim to safety but often the swim is farther than it looks.

When preparing for a day trip, don’t forget some of the basics:

  • Paddles
  • A length of rope
  • Life jacket
  • First aid kit
  • Dry change of clothes
  • Drinking water

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Please note that Island Air will customize any of our packages to suit your wishes.
Contact us so we can answer any questions you may have, and begin planning your holiday in BC.


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