Know Before You Go
Always be prepared and explore safely. Many recreation sites on the North Island are located in remote wilderness areas that are not regularly patrolled. Visitors should be experienced, self-sufficient and well prepared for all conditions. See travel tips below and know before you go!
Leave a trip itinerary with family or friends; Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it; Bring emergency food, water and warm clothes
Always plan ahead and have clear directions for the route you are taking.
The Vancouver Island North Recreation Map and North Island Trail Guide App provides the location of recreation sites but the Backroad Mapbook or Search and Rescue maps should be used to determine detailed back road driving routes.
Driving on Logging Roads
Also called Forest Service Roads, this network of gravel roads, that connects us to the back-country, was constructed primarily for the forest resource industry.
- Expect to navigate independently, there may not be directional signs
- Expect to be sharing these roads with industrial vehicles, always stay alert and use caution
- Yield to industrial traffic, pull over immediately and let the oncoming vehicle pass, use a turnout if possible, back up if necessary – make eye contact with the drivers of large trucks or heavy equipment and follow any hand signal instructions they provide
- Expect rough surfaces and potholes, slow down and drive to road conditions
- Before heading out, ensure your vehicle has a full tank of fuel, a working spare tire and the tools to change it
- If the road is dusty and you have limited visibility, wait for dust to settle before continuing
- Buckle up, always drive with your headlights on, even during the daytime
Cellular Phone Service
Expect to be out of your service provider’s range if you are heading into the back-country.
You will find cell service available in most communities on Vancouver Island North, but if your travels take you outside of one of our communities, don’t count on it. The ruggedly beautiful Vancouver Island North region has many mountain ranges that interfere with cellular signals.
Leave No Trace Camping
Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Pack out what you pack in, and dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Use food caches where available
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
Hike only on designated trails and use tent pads when setting up your camp.
Cook with a gas stove instead of an open fire and do your washing at least 200 feet from natural water sources, using phosphate free and biodegradable soap.
When you’ve got to go, and there is no outhouse available, make sure you are at least 200 feet from any water source, campsite or trail.
Be Aware on the Water
Pay close attention to the weather and travel carefully:
- Winds can build suddenly
- Rough waters can pick up quickly
- Dense fog can be common in this region during the summer months
- Travel in the morning or early evening to avoid afternoon winds
- Use VHF marine radios to receive weather updates
- Be aware of ocean swell and large exposed crossings
- Understand nautical charts and tidal predictions
- Ensure you have the required navigational and safety equipment
Minimize Marine Impact
- Use nautical charts, navigation equipment and depth sounders to anchor in water deeper than 10 metres
- Do not motoring through areas of shallow water where marine plants are abundant
- Land on beaches away from seagrass meadows and kelp beds or avoid landing at extreme low tides
- Canadian Hydrographic Services (CHS) produces nautical charts and navigational products to help ensure safe marine navigation
- Most vessels of any kind in Canada have an obligation to carry and use official charts and publication and keep them up to date
- Visit charts.gc.ca to access CHS charts for the waters around Vancouver Island North