If canoeing is your passion, Bowron Lake Park offers a wilderness experience, or try Ten Mile Lake, Green Lake, Lac La Hache or Horsefly Lake for a family vacation complete with beach and facilities for all ages. You may try visiting the Scout Island Nature Centre on Williams Lake, complete with trail system, or the Williams Lake River Valley trails for a hike or bike trip all the way to the Fraser River. For a wilderness adventure - visit Ts'yl-os Park or South Tweedsmuir Park, where scenery includes the Chilcotin and Coast Ranges and wildlife viewing is world class!
Why have parks? They are unsurpassable places for outdoor recreation BUT, the most important reason to have parks is CONSERVATION. We need to ensure habitat and wildlife are protected. How we travel through our environment plays a significant role in its preservation. For this reason you will find articles on ecological integrity, cougars and bears, grassland fragility, wetlands, spawning salmon, wildlife viewing and backcountry ethics.
The guidelines and information are presented here to help all of us play our part in protecting the environment. Help us spread the word, so the Parks will be here not only for our children, but also our children's children.
See also Ecological Integrity
Chimney Lake Recreation Site, photo Michael Atwood
Wherever you are in BC, you will be close to more than 1,200 forest recreation sites located around British Columbia for the camping enjoyment of residents and visitors to the province. There are three types of recreation sites: managed with fees, managed without fees, and user maintained. On January 1, 2006 the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts took over responsibility for Forest recreation sites and trails. The Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts also offers an extensive network of trails for those wishing to experience B.C.'s natural beauty. For more information on BC Recreation Sites visit the Ministry's web site.
photo Brian Carruthers
Access to the trail can be gained at the main trail head located on Mackenzie Avenue across from Comer Street or by following Frizzi Road past the landfill site. The latter route can be extremely slippery when wet and is not recommended for recreational vehicles. A colour brochure for the River Valley Trail is available at City Hall, Cariboo Memorial Complex and at the Visitor Information Centre and is also available on the City of Williams Lake web site.Williams Lake Cycling Club hosts many events and weekly rides. There is a shuttle and guiding service available also.
Please obey the following camping ethics and regulations:
Take your photos and memories home with you - but please leave the park with no trace of your visit, so that others may also enjoy our protected areas.
Wetlands are areas that remain wet for all or part of the year. Marshes, bogs, swamps, fens and shorelines are the most common types. Wetlands are often called the kidneys of the earth. They filter out suspended sediments that have been picked up through erosion, convert excess nutrients and fertilizers into lush vegetation, and release clean water to downstream users. Wetlands act as giant sponges, soaking up the excess water of spring runoff, and releasing it gradually into streams and underground aquifers. These functions are vital to the health and sustainability of waterfowl, wildlife populations, fish stocks, amphibians, agricultural industries and people.
There is an estimated 514,000 hectares of wetlands within the Cariboo-Chilcotin biome. Ducks Unlimited Canada is working to conserve, restore and manage these wetlands and associated habitats. In 1970, Ducks Unlimited Canada completed its first project in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and the conservation program has since grown to more than 80 projects consisting of 257 basins, including 6,700 hectares of wetlands and 2,100 hectares of associated upland habitat.
Working with partners such as BC Parks, Ducks Unlimited Canada is helping to foster appreciation and support for our province's wetland environments. Parks such as Big Bear Lake, Moose Valley and Bowron Lake provide great opportunities to visit natural wetlands - BC's wonders worth saving!
RESPECT private property and other viewer's need for space. Keep the area clean! Take your garbage out with you.
REPORT any abuse of the environment and its wildlife to the nearest conservation officer.
Ensuring that species habitat needs take precedence over human use helps protect threatened, endangered and vulnerable wildlife. Many groups and organizations contribute to conservation projects and public awareness in our region. Be sure you are doing your part to preserve healthy, functioning ecosystems.
In the Cariboo Chilcotin region there are several designated Wildlife Viewing Sites. To mention a few: 100 Mile Marsh, the Chilcotin Grasslands, Riedmann Wildlife Sanctuary on Alkali Lake, and the Beaver Pond trail at 10 Mile Lake Provincial Park.
Bears and cougars are wild animals and as such are unpredictable to a very large extent. Normally they are wary of people but they can become habituated and food conditioned in a very short period. Even though there are numerous bear-human encounters each year, in parks, protected areas, on crown land as well as private lands, the number of encounters that result in contact and or injury or death are very small. Sightings or human contact with cougars are very rare, but do occur. Once bears are fed, they quickly learn to associate food with people and become increasingly aggressive towards humans in their search for food. It is almost impossible to reverse these habits.
There are many things that you can do on the trail to prevent bear or cougar encounters:
When selecting a camp site:
Additional information and precautions:
The warmth of a crackling campfire is cherished by almost every camper visiting BC Parks each year. To many, it is a favourite and important social aspect of camping. But campfires come with a cost that goes far beyond money. BC Parks is committed to the conservation of natural resources, and is working towards decreasing the amount of wood being burned in campgrounds. In an average year, 22,000 cords of firewood are burned at our 11,000 campsites. It takes 235ha of forest carried on the equivalent of 2000 logging trucks to bring this wood to the parks. Firewood conservation is important for other reasons besides saving trees. Smoke from campfires reduces air quality and affects the enjoyment of camping for many visitors. During certain weather patterns, smoke is trapped in a thick haze over campgrounds, and this can seriously affect people's health. Every year, forest fires are started by careless campers. Build your fire in the metal fireplace provided, and never leave a fire unattended.
Keep campfires to a height of 50 cm (20 inches) or less. Unless required for cooking, campfires on hot days are discouraged. We recommend using a camp stove for cooking, as it is easier on the environment and far less likely to burn your food! Campfires are an experience many people enjoy. By taking a few simple measures, the cost of burning wood is reduced, and this benefits you and the environment.Cariboo Regional District (1.800.665.1636) or e-mail Cattlemen's Association (1 250.573.3611)
• preserve representative and special ecosystems;
• protect rare and endangered plant and animal species;
• preserve unique, rare or outstanding botanical, zoological or geological phenomena;
• scientific research and educational use.
BC Parks is responsible for the management and protection of British Columbia's ecological reserves, under the Ecological Reserve Act. Volunteer Ecological Reserve Wardens assist BC Parks by visiting the reserves regularly, and reporting their findings. Ecological Reserves are not created for outdoor recreation. However, some are open to the public for observational purposes such as bird watching and photography. Camping and the use of motorized vehicles are not permitted. There are ten ecological reserves in the Cariboo Region, covering a total of 17,307 hectares. Please cooperate in caring for these areas.
Special care must be taken in alpine and sub-alpine areas. These are among the most fragile because of severe conditions and a short growing season. To preserve this pristine wilderness, it is important to hike on designated trails, put up your tent on tent pads, where provided, and use a back-packing stove for cooking rather than an open fire.
Taking pets into the backcountry, especially dogs, is not recommended. Pets can disturb other campers, foul trails and aggravate wildlife.
Everyone who uses the backcountry must strive for "no trace camping". In other words, when camp is broken, there should be no sign of human use. Leave the area in better condition than when you arrived.
IF YOU PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT - Take along a garbage bag and carry out all trash that you generate including biodegradable scraps such as apple cores, orange peels, etc.
"Protected Area" is a term used to include all the areas BC Parks uses including all the areas we manage, from Class A Parks like Tweedsmuir, to Ecological Reserves like Doc English Bluff, to new protected areas like Churn Creek. Each type has different legislation - parks and ecological reserves have the Park Act and Ecological Act; whereas a few of the newer protected areas were established under the Environment and Land Use Act, which allows for other uses like industrial roads.
BC is the first Canadian province, and one of the first jurisdictions in the world, to meet the 1992 United Nations challenge to protect 12 per cent of our land. Credit for this remarkable achievement goes to the British Columbians from all walks of life who participated in land use planning tables around the province.
The Protected Areas Strategy guides protected area planning in BC, to help achieve a balance between environmental protection, sustainable development and community stability. Communities have found the delicate but critical balance between human uses and protection of nature. Resource use is allowed on sites where land use was previously uncertain, and protected areas are ensured. These solutions to sometimes long-standing conflicts provide greater economic and community stability.
Protected areas are set aside as nature preserves, as scientific research areas, and as places for education and recreation. Protected areas help conserve our natural and biological diversity, and our cultural heritage. They also contribute to the growth of tourism and economic diversification.
During the last decade British Columbians have worked to protect both the special features (e.g. habitat for endangered species, special land forms) of the province as well as to represent each of the province's 100 ecosections, or natural regions. Eighty-four of the ecosections now have significant representation. Some of the protected areas established include: the Northern Rocky Mountains; Kitlope, Stein Valley and Khutzeymateen. Locally, Ts'yl-os, Churn Creek, Cariboo Mountains and Big Creek are very significant new protected areas.
Original material in this website may be reproduced in any form without permission on condition that it is accredited to the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, with a link back to this site or, in the case of printed material, a clear indication of the site URL. We would appreciate being notified of such use. Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in this web site, the CCCS does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. Anyone using the information does so at their own risk and shall be deemed to indemnify CCCS from any and all injury or damage arising from such use.
This site has had visitors since March 1, 2004