Take the 10 essentials, respect the environment and always stay within your ability
Attention all those planning to hike or bike in Whistler this summer: Before you head out on the trails, make sure you are adventure smart by being prepared and, when you are out on the trails, be kind and always respect fellow trail users with physical distancing. This includes taking the 10 essentials, respect the environment and always staying within your ability.
“Every year it is important for everyone accessing the outdoors, including the backcountry or alpine, to be adventure smart, and this year is especially important given the COVID-19 environment,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton.
“We continue to see people hiking and biking on Whistler trails each summer who are not prepared for the experience. Before you head out, ask yourself if you are physically ready and if you have anything you need. When hiking and biking, know your route, pack the essentials, stay away from wildlife, do not flick cigarette butts or matches, stay on the trail and stay within your ability.”
The Alpine Trail Network in particular sees significant use, especially on Rainbow Lake, Into the Mystic, Lord of the Squirrels and Skywalk trails. Trail rangers will now be located on the Sproatt and Rainbow alpine trail systems seven days a week and a ranger station will also be built in the alpine in 2020 to aid in monitoring, research and education.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler and Province of BC also completed a strategy this spring to minimize conflicts with grizzly bears on the alpine trails on Rainbow and Sproatt mountains.
Take the 10 essentials
Whether going out for a few hours or several days, there are 10 essential items that everyone should carry in their pack for any outdoor adventure. These include:
- Flashlight, spare batteries and bulb
- Fire-marking kit such as waterproof matches/lighter and a fire starter/candle
- Signaling device such as whistle or mirror
- Extra food and water (1 litre per person)
- Extra clothing including rain, wind, water protection and toque
- Navigation and communication aids
- First aid kit and knowing how to use it
- Emergency shelter such as a tarp
- Pocket knife
- Sun protection like glasses, sunscreen and hat
Learn more about the 10 essentials at adventuresmart.ca.
Respect the environment
When you are on a hiking or biking trail, you are also in wildlife and wildfire country. Respect the environment to protect wildlife, sensitive alpine vegetation, the Whistler community and Whistler’s water sources. Remember:
- Pack out all garbage, use outhouses, take only photos and leave no trace.
- Practice bear safety, such as managing your attractants and giving bears space.
- Stay on designated trails and obey all trail signs. Avoid shortcuts and trail braiding to protect the natural habitat.
- Be aware of current fire danger ratings. Do not flick butts or matches, and where campfires are permitted, drown campfires before leaving.
- Prevent the spread of invasive species by cleaning your gear before entering and when leaving a trail area.
- Protect Whistler’s water supply. Do not fish, camp or defecate in the watershed.
- Dogs are prohibited from the Sproatt and Rainbow Alpine Networks. In other areas, keep dogs on leash, as off-leash dogs can create conflict with bears and other wildlife.
Stay within your ability
Areas like the Alpine Trail Network and Rainbow Lake provide backcountry experiences that require hikers and bikers to have a high level of fitness and be prepared for a day-long journey. Remember:
- Recognize your ability and understand the risks with all trails.
- Expect the unexpected and plan for delays, changes in weather and injuries.
- Plan ahead. Tell someone where you are going, and check local trail reports and maps, as well as trailforks.com.
This year with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is particularly important to play within your ability and not put undue strain on the medical system and emergency services.
To learn more about outdoor adventure and being adventure smart this summer in Whistler, visit whistler.ca/AdventureSmart.