Trash Talk

Vince and Devan, avid B.C. hikers, got tired of seeing litter in Canada’s iconic parks. So, they fought back and their actions have inspired others to clean up Canada’s parks and public spaces.

5 Ways You Can Keep Canada’s Parks Healthy

Progressive-thinking environmental conservationist Arthur DeJong, Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager for Whistler Blackcomb, has been hiking in Canada’s parks for more than 30 years. He believes that environmental sustainability is only possible when we spend even more time in, or by, parks, trails, rivers, lakes, oceans and wildlife.

“We can’t lock-up nature. We need to find ways to become part of sustainability,” says DeJong.

We asked DeJong what Canadians can do to keep our parks clean:

Pack out what you pack in. This means picking up after yourself and others, leaving nothing behind. This includes plastics, paper, wrappers, food and other waste. Plan ahead by ensuring you’ve got enough space and the right gear to pack it all out.

No smoking. A small smoldering cigarette butt can cause a fire, and it also adds to waste left on a trail.

Stay on the trail. This limits our impact on highly sensitive micro-ecosystems like wetlands, bird eggs, nests and more. Even experienced hikers and environmentalists who go off-trail can damage the environment.

Restrain pets. Letting your dog loose on a trail walk can disturb the natural environment and attract unnecessary defensive actions by local wildlife. Use a leash unless the trail signs specifically say that off-leash animals are allowed.

Ride share. How you get to Canada’s beautiful parks matters. Reduce your environmental footprint through ride sharing or cycling.

“Picking up litter like Devan and Vince did at Joffre Lakes Provincial park is a great step toward keeping our parks clean,” says DeJong. He recommends that at a minimum, we should never leave any litter behind.

“Ideally, all Canadians should feel a responsibility toward improving the condition of our public lands so we can continue to enjoy and take greater pride and ownership of our environment.”

Parks Canada has tips on how to make your visit safe, fun and sustainable.

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