Recreation sites and recreation trails

Last updated on April 29, 2021

Recreation sites and recreation trails provide many recreation opportunities on Crown Land outside of National Parks (Parks Canada), Provincial Parks and settled areas.

Recreation sites and recreation trails are part of an integrated resource management setting. This means the land base is managed for multiple uses, including recreation. During your visit, you can expect to encounter a number of different land-management activities, making for a unique recreational experience. Some of theses activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Cattle grazing
  • Fish and wildlife management
  • Forestry
  • Mineral extraction
  • Oil and gas exploration 
  • Recreation (other forms of public and commercial)
  • Watershed protection

Recreation sites and trails provide access and opportunities for many outdoor recreation activities. Here are some examples, with links to more information where available:

  • Back-country skiing
  • Camping
  • Caveing and spelunking
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Boating and paddling
  • Freshwater Fishing
  • Geocaching
  • Hang gliding
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Horse-back riding
  • Motor biking
  • Mountain biking
  • Off-road vehicle (ORV) use
  • Picnicking
  • Rock climbing & "bouldering"
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Swimming & beach activities
  • Trial bike riding
  • and many others 

Recreation sites

Recreation sites are used for many different purposes. The majority provide a simple, rustic camping experience. Generally located in remote areas and accessed by gravel forestry roads, recreation sites provide only basic facilities, such as fire rings, picnic tables, outhouses, and, where appropriate, boat-launching ramps. Potable water and electricity are not available. Supervisory services are provided at a limited number of recreation sites with on-site operators. 

Amenities vary from location to location. Typical amenities and services at a site may include:

  • Boat launches
  • Campsites
  • Day-use and parking areas
  • Fire Rings
  • Firewood sales
  • Outhouses
  • On-site supervision
  • Picnic tables
  • Toilets
  • Trails

*NOTE: potable water and electricity are not available at campsites.


Campsites with fees

These sites are managed through partnerships with recreation groups, community organizations, First Nations, private citizens, local governments and forest companies. Camping fees are charged to pay for the services provided by the agreement holder. Services may include supervision, daily maintenance, and facility/structure maintenance. 


Campsites without fees

These sites are managed through partnership agreements or maintenance contracts. No fees are charged for the services provided because the agreement holder can reduce or recover the costs by alternative means (e.g., volunteers), or the B.C. Government covers the cost of the maintenance contract.

Recreation trails

B.C.’s recreation trails are used for many different purposes (hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, ORVs, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling). They range from primitive, single-track paths through dense forest to wide rail trails with high-quality tread surfaces.

Many trails are set in spectacular natural settings, and in addition to providing access to beautiful destinations (e.g. recreation features), they also provide users with enjoyment and a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment along the journey. Many historical and heritage trails trace the footsteps of our forbearers and remind us of important events in B.C.’s history.

This extensive network of recreation trails gives B.C. the capacity to develop as a world-class outdoor tourism destination. The B.C. Government is developing a Recreation Trails Strategy to ensure that our recreation trails provide sustainable opportunities for all types of users – non-motorized and motorized.

As with recreation sites, some recreation trails have user fees while others are free of charge. Trails with fees are managed under partnership agreements whereby the partner charges for maintenance services such as trail grooming and brushing.


Trails with fees

These trails are managed through partnerships with recreation groups and community organizations. Trail fees are charged to provide maintenance services such as trail grooming and brushing. Backcountry cabins associated with some trails may also collect fees to provide upkeep and maintenance of the shelter. 


Trails without fees

Many trails are "user maintained," and some trails are managed through partnership agreements. No fees are charged for the services because volunteers provide the majority of trail maintenance.