Where random backcountry camping is permitted
- Random camping is permitted in wildland provincial parks with some restrictions and recommendations.
- Random camping is not permitted within 1 kilometre of a designated camping facility.
- Random camping is not permitted within 1 kilometre of a road, provincial park or provincial recreation area boundary.
- It is recommended that you do not camp within 50 metres of a trail.
- There are some special restrictions on random backcountry camping in Kananaskis wildland provincial parks.
NOTE: Random camping is NOT PERMITTED in provincial parks and provincial recreation areas.
Where to set up camp
As much as possible, use existing campsites. It is always better to camp on sites that are already impacted where additional use won’t be detrimental to the environment.
- Camp on durable surfaces (e.g. rock, gravel, and areas with sparse vegetation). Place tents on non-vegetated areas.
- Camp at least 60 metres from water. All toilet facilities, waste water disposal and fuel storage should be located at least 100 metres from lakes, rivers, and streams.
- In areas without toilets, use a portable latrine and pack out your waste if possible. Otherwise, make a cat-hole latrine (20 cm deep) that naturally decomposes human waste. All toilets and waste water pits should be filled with soil and leveled when you vacate your campsite.
- Avoid washing in streams and lakes. Detergents, soap and toothpaste are harmful to fish and other aquatic life. Scatter all wash water so that it filters through the soil.
- We recommended that backcountry travelers use camp stoves. Backpacking stoves are lightweight, compact, efficient and more convenient to use than wood fires. Also, they leave no scars in the backcountry.
- In emergency situations, a wood fire may be necessary. If possible, use an existing fire pit. Ensure the spot is clear of dry grass, bushes, leaves, tree trunks, tree roots, peat moss and overhanging branches.
- Dig or scrape down to mineral soil. Clear away any flammable materials within 1 metre of the fire pit.
- Use only dead wood.
- Never leave a campfire unattended. Make sure the fire is out and cold to the touch before retiring for the night and before leaving camp. Soak it thoroughly and stir it – then soak it again.
- Do not bury your fire as the embers can continue to smolder and can re-emerge as a wildfire.
- During periods of high fire hazard, campfires may not be permitted. Check fire bans.
- Note: If your fire is responsible for starting a wildfire, you can be charged under the Forest and Prairie Protection Act, fined and held liable for all costs associated with fighting the wildfire.
Disposing of garbage
- Garbage should always be packed out of the backcountry, never buried. Wildlife can easily find and dig up old garbage pits, even in winter. Once accustomed to human food, these animals may become a problem for future visitors.
- Never feed wildlife. This practice can upset the natural balance of the food chain. Leftovers may carry harmful bacteria. Large carnivores such as bears and wolves can become dangerous once fed.
- See the suggestions above for disposing of human waste.