Trail Safety

Trail Safety

Castlegar Parks and Trails is a volunteer organization committed to building and maintaining environmentally-sensitive trails for non-motorized use. Our trails are primarily constructed on the ground with a minimum amount of disturbance. Trails are maintained for ease of use and essential safety; many natural hazards (for example, wildlife trees and poison ivy) remain along our trails. Wildlife encounters are also a possibility on all trails in all months (see below). Trails are mixed use with pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians sometimes sharing the same path; practice good trail etiquette. There are no trail patrols and signing in at the trailhead will NOT alert anyone should you twist an ankle and get stuck out on a trail.

What to bring:

Although it might be excessive for a short walk around Waldie Island Trail, those traveling on the Kootenay River Trails or the Columbia Trail may wish to consider their need for “the ten essentials”:
1.Compass or GPS (and knowledge of use!)
2. Sunglasses and sunscreen
3. Extra food
4. Water (water treatment device)
5. Extra clothes
6. Headlamp/flashlight
7. First aid kit
8. Fire starter
9. Matches
10. Knife

You may wish to add other items, for example bear spray.

For most of our trails you should tell someone where you are going (leave a note or message) and when you expect to be back. Cell phone coverage is generally good in our trail area.


ALL trail users should carry a first aid kit, here are some suggestions for it’s contents:

• tensor bandage
• assorted band aids
• antiseptic pads
• sterile gauze squares of assorted sizes
• sharp scissors
• needle and thread
• matches
• moleskin (for blisters, apply moleskin as soon as you feel a ‘hot spot’)
• first aid tape
• safety pins
• tweezers
• one triangular bandage
• pressure bandages or sanitary pads
• first aid pamphlet
• rubber gloves

Trail Etiquette

Give right-of-way to:

• Uphill travelers
• Equestrian (if encountered, ask the rider for instructions)
• Hikers (if you’re a cyclist)
• All others if you are unsure

Respect the wilderness:

• If you pack it in, pack it out
• Leave not a trace
• Do not feed or harass wildlife
• Stay on the trail

Wildlife encounters

(Click on link to learn more):
Wasps and Bees
The best way to avoid incidents with wildlife is to make noise. Talk to your friends, or sing your favourite song, just make your presence know. For more information on bear safety visit

Poison Ivy

What poison ivy looks like

  • Each leaf has 3 small leaflets.
  • It grows as a shrub (low woody plant)
  • In spring, it grows yellow-green flowers.
  • It may have green berries that turn off-white in early fall.

Forest fire prevention:

• Please check the fire indices
• No fires in season
• No smoking in season
• Ensure cigarettes are extinguished – pack out butts


• Please respect all users and remove manure from trails

*Please be aware that we have found Poison Ivy on or around most of our trails, keep your distance. Click on the link for more info*


For hikers of any skill level it is important to have proper footwear. Hiking boots provide much more support than sneakers and are recommended for all trails. Hiking poles are great for any trail surface; they will reduce impact on joints, improve stability, and provide am upper-body workout.
Know your group. It is important to know the skill and fitness level of all party members. The slowest person should set the pace. If someone is falling behind stop, wait until they catch up, and let them have a break. People tend to start moving as soon as the slower person catches up, this way, they never get a break.

Communication is very important. The strongest hiker should be the instigator of group discussions regarding speed, breaks, water consumption, route planning, and the physical condition of the group. If one person is uncomfortable with something, they should feel comfortable vocalizing it and confident that their concerns will be addressed.

The best way to avoid incidents with wildlife is to make noise. Talk to your friends, or sing your favourite song, just make your presence know. For more information on bear safety visit


Although there are eleven trails listed as bike friendly in the Castlegar area, none of these trails are bike specific. All of the trails listed (except the Millennium Walkway) are considered ‘natural trails’; this means cyclists should be confident riding on rough trails and should have treaded tires.
When cycling in the wilderness it is important always be aware of your surroundings. Obviously, cyclists travel faster than hikers so there is a better chance of surprising wildlife. The best way of preventing this is to vocalize how much fun you are having, hoots and hollers alert wildlife of your presence and will likely cause them to move on.

Always carry a bike repair kit, here are some suggestions for it’s contents:

• Flat tire repair (patches, liquid cement, and tire levers)
• Tire pump (be sure it fits the valve on YOUR bike)
• Extra tube (see specifications on the side of your tire)
• Snap-on chain link
• Multi-tool (with adjustable wrench, hex wrench, chain tool, spoke wrench, and freewheel remover)
• Roll of tape

Check with your local bike shop for bike repair classes, feel more confident going on longer bike trips knowing that you have the knowledge to repair your bike if needed. The internet is also a great resource for bicycle repair tips.