Kananaskis Country  
Cataract Creek Provincial Recreation Area - Kananaskis Country
Advisories & Public Safety
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Backcountry Safety

For Your Safety

  • Leave word with a responsible person about where you are going, what route you are taking and when you will return.
  • You may also register your trip at a Kananaskis Country visitor centre.
  • To report an emergency call 9-1-1.
  • Report sightings of bears, cougars, wolves and problem wildlife to Kananaskis Emergency Services at 403-591-7755 (to be connected toll-free in Alberta dial 310-0000 followed by the phone number). From a cell phone, dial the toll-free code (*310 for Roger's Wireless; #310 for Bell & Telus) followed by the phone number.

Be Prepared

While You Hike

  • Stay on established trails when possible to avoid trail braiding.
  • Do NOT pick or collect wildflowers or other vegetation including deadfall. Picking or collecting rocks, fossils and artifacts is NOT permitted - take a photograph instead!
  • Share the trail with other users. During breaks, step off the trail so others can pass.
  • Do not litter - this includes cigarette butts, seed shells and tissue.
  • Occasional shouting will warn wildlife that you are in the area.
    • This is especially important near noisy creeks and in dense forest.
    • Shouts are more effective than a bell, whistle or horn.
  • If you decide to take your dog into the backcountry, remember:
    • Your dog must be kept on a leash at all times.
    • Your dog's waste must be packed out or buried.
    • Wildlife regard your pet as either prey or predator.

Cooking & Cleaning

  • Fires in parks and campgrounds are permitted only where metal fire rings are provided.
  • Burn only the wood provided and be aware that supplies may be limited.
  • Collecting and burning dead wood is not permitted.
  • Cooking with a portable stove is recommended.
  • If you choose to have a fire, make sure it is completely extinguished before going to sleep or leaving camp.
  • For splitting wood, an axe is provided at the woodpile at backcountry campgrounds.
  • Pack out all food waste and garbage. Leftover food should not be buried, dumped in the outhouse or burned.
  • Do not clean pots and dishes in any water source. Instead, carry water a good distance away to wash your dishes. Dump the soapy ("grey") water in the outhouse.
  • Wash and bathe at least 50 metres from any water source.
  • Keep food, garbage, toiletry items (like soap and toothpaste) and clothing used while cooking out of reach of bears:
    • Hang/store food bags on racks or storage lockers provided.
    • Always secure your food before going to sleep or leaving camp.
    • Never store food or toiletries in your tent.

Disposal of Human Waste

  • When hiking, urinate at least 50 metres from trails and water sources.
  • When hiking, defecate in a cathole (catholes should be 15-20 centimetres deep and 50 metres from trails and water sources). Bury your waste then replace the topsoil.
  • Pack out toilet paper or dispose of it in an outhouse.
  • If you are travelling on snow or ice or in the high alpine, please pack out your waste.
  • While at camp, use the outhouse to urinate or defecate.

Winter Survival

In Case You Need to be Rescued...

Everyone who travels in the backcountry should be fully prepared. You should plan to self-rescue if possible. If not...

Calling for Help

  • Dial 9-1-1 from a pay or cell phone - remember that cell phone coverage is limited in many locations throughout Kananaskis.
  • Tell the dispatcher that you have an emergency in Kananaskis Country. The dispatcher will then transfer you to the Kananaskis Country Emergency Services Centre.
  • With a satellite phone, dialing 9-1-1 may transfer you to an emergency centre unfamiliar with Kananaskis Country - if you're using a satellite phone, call the local emergency number instead (403-591-7767).
  • Kananaskis Country Emergency Services Centre dispatch will ask you questions to better understand:
    • the exact location of the emergency;
    • the nature of the accident and the seriousness of any injuries;
    • your name and call back number; and
    • when the accident occurred.

Signalling a Helicopter

  • On occasion, a helicopter may be used for backcountry rescue.
  • Rescue staff in the helicopter are not able to communicate with people on the ground.
    • It is imperative that you use standard visual signals to reduce confusion.
    • Although dispatchers will coach you on how to make these signals, knowing them before you head into the backcountry is preferable.
      Backcountry - Need Help
  • To reduce confusion when a helicopter approaches, the person on the ground with a satellite phone or cell phone should remain on the line with dispatch.