By Jonny Bierman
Whether this is your first time exploring BC’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast or one of many visits, the natural elements and historical significance of this area are as powerful as always. This is, after all, a land without limits in one of BC’s best adventure destinations. And although the salmon still swim up our rivers to spawn and the meltwaters of the glaciers still find their paths to the Pacific Ocean, things do look a little different this year.
Here are our tips to maximizing your experience for Cariboo Chilcotin Coast travel in 2020:
Travel in small groups and stick to open spaces
When you travel in smaller groups, it minimizes your impact on smaller communities and the destinations you visit. Plan for the quality time you can spend with those inside your immediate social circle, and aim to maximize the open spaces we are lucky to have in this part of BC in order to maintain social distancing.
Always call in advance if you are planning your overnight accommodations or activities the day-of. While most of our communities and businesses are open, some are not for the 2020 season. Our businesses that are open have adopted new procedures (like contactless check-ins) and protocols, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with these before you arrive. Be sure to check individual communities under your desired region at landwithoutlimits.com/places to ensure they’re open.
Stay apart, stay safe
Practice physical distancing and frequent handwashing hygiene to help keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Our businesses have implemented measures to keep you safe, so we encourage you to talk to our tourism operators and local visitor centres to see how you can do your part while visiting. For additional personal safety recommendations, be sure to check the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Be calm, be patient, & be kind
Many businesses are coping with a ‘new normal’ that involves various functions of their operations looking quite different than they did before. If things take a little longer, know that it is all in the name of your personal safety. If you notice something that is making you or others around you uncomfortable, practice empathy and advise business owners directly instead of posting an angry comment online. Remember that it’s their first time implementing these new measures, too. It’s important to remind ourselves to be patient during this time and foster a healthy, positive environment for those around us.
For more information on travel to, from, and within BC visit:
LEAVE NO TRACE
Some of the most well-known principles to the outdoor industry are the Leave No Trace Principles. Leave No Trace Canada is “a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. Leave No Trace builds awareness, appreciation and respect for our wildlands.” The principles are as follows:
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts (and always be sure to check BC wildfire status for your destination and if there are any fire bans in the area)
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of others
THE TEN ESSENTIALS
Whether you’re going into the backcountry or car camping, large parts of our region do not have cell service! It is important that you then prepare for what you would do in an emergency situation or if you were to get lost in an area without cell phone coverage. The Ten Essentials have been updated to reflect modern technology and it’s a good idea to keep lots of these items stored in the car for emergencies any time of year.
- Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger
- Headlamp: plus extra batteries
- Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothing and sunscreen
- First aid: including foot care and insect repellent (as needed)
- Knife: plus a gear repair kit
- Fire: matches, lighter, tinder and/or stove
- Shelter: carried at all times (can be a light emergency bivy)
- Extra food: Beyond the minimum expectation
- Extra water: Beyond the minimum expectation
- Extra clothes: Beyond the minimum expectation
KNOWLEDGE AND RESPECT OF COMMUNITY AND LOCALS
From the Fraser Canyon throughout the Cariboo, across the Chilcotin and into the Coast Mountains and Great Bear Rainforest, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is made up of diverse communities who have called these lands home since time immemorial. Respecting the places you travel means educating yourself on who lives in these communities–luckily our region provides ample opportunity to learn about its history and people who live here. No matter where you go or stay, many of our guest ranches, lodges, historic sites and Indigenous experiences are community or family-run operations with friendly locals always willing to share their story.