Cruise with Courtesy: Regional Trail Etiquette

The E&N Rail TrailGalloping Goose Regional Trail and Lochside Regional Trail are multi-use, which means that all who safely walk, pedal and wheel are welcome!

For everyone's safety and enjoyment, Cruise with Courtesy on these busy trails by using the simple trail etiquette tips below.

How to Cruise with Courtesy (PDF)

  • Share the trail and keep right except to pass.
  • Control your speed.
  • Yield to pedestrians and horse riders.
  • When passing, alert other trail users. Use caution, particularly around horses.
  • Keep pets on leash and on the right side of the trail.
  • Communicate with signals and eye contact.
  • Respect the trail environment and neighbouring lands.
  • Yield to farm equipment.
  • Be extra cautious and visible at road crossings. Right-of-way varies, depending on the municipality.
  • Cooperate and show mutual respect.
  • Show kindness to fellow trail users if they make mistakes. Consider a nod, wave or smile when passing others.

Wildfire Safety

Extended warm, dry weather conditions increase the risk of wildfire in our region. And we can expect drier summers as a result of climate change. Your choices in parks matter, and by using the simple etiquette below, we can all help to protect CRD Parks for future generations. 

  • Don't smoke in parks — ever.
  • Properly dispose of your trash or pack it out. Even something as simple as broken glass can cause a wildfire.
  • Park in designated areas only. Don't block emergency vehicle access.
  • Stay on official, sanctioned trails.
  • Abide by any campfire bans in place.

For more information on fire bans in the Coastal Fire Centre, visit the provincial Fire Bans and Restrictions page.

For more information on wildfire preparedness in the region, visit the wildfire page. 

For more information on current conditions in the Coastal Fire Centre, visit the provincial Fire Danger Rating page.

Let's Get Visible: Trail & Road Safety

Here's how you can be a responsible road, sidewalk and trail user.

Be Alert:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and always look out for vehicles and other road users.
  • Be careful at intersections and make eye contact with fellow road, sidewalk and trail users.
  • Listening to music or using your phone are dangerous distractions that make it hard to hear or notice approaching traffic when you are walking, cycling or rolling.

Be Visible:

  • Wear bright or reflective materials.
  • Use lights and reflectors on your body, backpacks and bikes.
  • Where possible, stay on sidewalks and pathways. When there is no sidewalk, walk single file facing traffic so you can see approaching vehicles and they can see you.

Be Predictable:

  • Learn, understand and obey rules of the road, traffic signals and signs.
  • Cross at traffic lights, crosswalks or with crossing guards whenever possible.
  • Communicate your intentions using your voice, hand signals, eye contact, lights or bells.

Be Courteous:

  • Safely share the roads, sidewalks and trails by practicing good etiquette.
  • Remember to keep to the right, yield to others, mind your speed, alert others before passing, keep dogs on leash and respect the environment.
  • Show mutual respect to fellow road, sidewalk and trail users and be kind if they make mistakes.

#ProtectCRDParks: Park Trail Etiquette

As we head into the summer season, more and more people will be out enjoying CRD regional parks like Elk/Beaver Lake, Thetis Lake and Sooke Potholes. Individual actions add up FAST in our busy parks system - if we all do our part we can minimize our impact and protect regional parks.

Park in Designated Areas: Please help maintain emergency vehicle access to regional parks by only parking where permitted. Making a new parking spot may seem like no big deal in the moment but it can put everyone in the park, and the park itself, at serious risk during an emergency. Responsible vehicle use is an important part of fire safety; keep park access roads clear, park where permitted and don't drive over dry vegetation.

Know & Follow Park Rules: Be prepared and thoughtful when you visit regional parks. Rules and etiquette can be found on individual park and trails pages. Smoking, drugs, alcohol, and fires are prohibited in all regional parks. Help protect yourself, fellow park users and the parks you love this fire season - your choices matter. 

Stay On Trail: Each year, regional parks get millions of visits. Our every footstep has an impact, even if we can't see it right away. Staying on trail and following trail markers is an easy and effective way to protect sensitive ecosystems and culturally important areas. Check official regional park maps online before your hike and always follow in-park signage. 

Leave No Trace: Illegal dumping, vandalism or littering in parks, even of organic material, is harmful to ecosystems and wildlife (and detracts from everyone's enjoyment). Your choices matter. Leave no trace, pack out what you pack in and leave parks a better place than you found them. 

Together, we can protect CRD regional parks for future generations.

How to Dress

  • Even in summer, be prepared for wet, cool conditions. West Coast weather can change quickly. Check the forecast before heading out.
  • Dress in layers.
  • Wear clothing that stays warm when wet and dries quickly (i.e. fleece - not cotton).
  • Wear appropriate footwear (i.e. sturdy hiking shoes).
  • In summer, wear sun-protective clothing (i.e. hats with brims).
  • Wear reflective gear to be visible, use a headlamp or flashlight, make sure your pet is visible too, especially in the rainy winter months.

What to Bring

Always carry a daypack filled with essentials, in case you need to stay out longer than planned. Here are some suggestions:

  • current map of area
  • water
  • snacks and extra food
  • flashlight and spare batteries
  • large orange plastic bag (useful as rainwear, shelter or for signalling)
  • extra clothing in a waterproof plastic bag (i.e. rain gear, hat, gloves), ideally reflective
  • sunscreen
  • pocket knife
  • waterproof matches/lighter
  • fire starter paste or cubes
  • candle
  • compass (learn how to use it before you set out)
  • first aid kit (be familiar with the contents)
  • whistle
  • pencil and paper
  • emergency tarp or thermal blanket
  • pack of tissues
  • cell phone
  • plastic bags for pet droppings

Seasonal Conditions

All regional parks and trails remain open year round. Always be prepared for changing weather conditions and plan accordingly. Here are some extra tips on what to expect depending on the season:

  • In the winter months, be prepared for rain, frost and ice at regional parks and on regional trails and expect slippery surfaces. Cycling commuters on regional trails may want to consider winter bike tires or alternative transportation during cold snaps or snowy weather. In wilderness parks, such as Sea to Sea and Sooke Hills Wilderness, weather changes are especially varied, and often include snowfall. Plan ahead and be prepared.
  • In summer, expect high temperatures and dry conditions. Bring extra water and wear sun protection. Leave pets at home if it's too warm for them.
  • During wind storms, watch for falling branches, changing beach conditions and slippery surfaces. Avoid forested areas in high winds (40km/h+).

Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflict

You are sharing this natural area with large carnivores such as bears, cougars, and wolves.

  • Stay alert. Wildlife may be in the area. Watch for signs such as tracks, claw marks on trees and scat.
  • Make noise to avoid surprise encounters, especially around blind corners and areas with dense vegetation.
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife. Keep a minimum viewing distance of 100 m from bears, cougars, and wolves and 30 m from other animals.
  • Dogs must be kept on leash at all times to reduce the risk of encounters with large carnivores.
  • Do not leave children or pets unattended.

Help reduce human-wildlife conflicts:

Pets in Parks

Pets are welcome at most regional parks and trails. To learn more about dogs-on-leash areas, seasonal prohibition zones, how to protect your pets from natural hazards, and more, visit the Pets in Parks page. You can also download the PAWS in Parks pamphlet to learn why canine courtesy matters!

Simple canine courtesies in regional parks:

  • Protect nature by keeping your dog away from wildlife and sensitive areas.
  • Always respect others who might not welcome your dog's attention.
  • Watch that your dog is under control, in sight, and on a leash where required.
  • Scoop your dog's poop and take it to the trash.

Hike Safely

  • Plan your trip and stick to the plan. Consider using an app like the AdventureSmart Trip Plan App to file a trip plan and establish emergency contacts who will be notified if you're overdue.
  • Check weather forecasts before heading out.
  • Make sure your gear is in good working order.
  • Know the trails of the parks you visit. Read park maps and information kiosks and always stay on designated trails.
  • Yield to horses.
  • Hike with a friend or in a group.
  • Be prepared to stay out longer than planned.
  • If lost, make yourself visible and stay where you are until help arrives.
  • Be aware of wildlife and exercise caution in wilderness areas with cougars, bears and other large omnivores (see heading Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflict).
  • Is your canine companion camouflaged? For the safety of your dog and others, be extra visible on trails. Use a reflective collar and leash, and other bright gear.
  • Be extra cautious and visible at road crossings. Right-of-way varies, depending on the municipality.
  • Cooperate and show mutual respect.
  • Show kindness to fellow trail users if they make mistakes.

Camp Safely

From WildSafeBC:

  • Use bear resistant bins and/or follow food storage rules as set out at the campsite.
  • Keep your campsite clean and odour free.
  • Do not have any food in your tent.
  • When sleeping in your tent, have your bear spray and a flashlight in a readily accessible area.

Swim Safely

  • Never swim alone.
  • Remember, lifeguard service is not provided in regional parks.
  • If you’re a new swimmer, stay shallow. Don’t go past your belly button. Swim with a buddy.
  • Remember, inflatables and life jackets are not as safe as adult supervision.
  • Cliff jumping is very dangerous. There are loose rocks and it is slippery at the cliff edge. The water may be shallower than you think. There may be submerged objects like rocks, ledges and logs.
  •  Be aware that water levels are lower in the summer months and submerged objects will be closer to the surface of lakes.
  • Be sun safe. Wear sun screen and a hat. Drink lots of water.
  • HealthLink BC

Mountain Bike Safely

From International Mountain Bicycling Association of Canada:

Keep in mind that conventions for yielding and passing may vary in different locations, or with traffic conditions.

  • Share the trail and keep right except to pass.
  • Control your speed.
  • Yield to pedestrians and horse riders.
  • When passing, alert other trail users. Use caution, particularly around horses.
  • Communicate with signals and eye contact.
  • Respect the trail environment and neighbouring lands.
  • Yield to farm equipment.
  • Cooperate and show mutual respect.
  • Show kindness to fellow trail users if they make mistakes.
  • Be extra cautious and visible at road crossings. Right-of-way varies, depending on the municipality.
  • Leave no trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
  • Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you're coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic.
  • Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

Contact Information

Safety is your personal responsibility. Be prepared for possible hazards, rapid weather changes, and always exercise caution. Remember that if you have an emergency in a remote area, it could take several hours for help to come.

  • In case of emergency call 911. However, please note cell phone coverage is limited in some more remote parks.
  • Report wildlife-human interactions where the public may be at risk to the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1.877.952.7277.
  • Report a wildfire to 1.800.663.5555 or *5555 from a mobile phone.
  • Report park violations here.

Park Safely

Unfortunately, thieves strike where people gather. Leave your valuables at home, or take them with you. Don't forget to lock your car.