Please travel responsibly: plan your trip in advance, be adventure smart and practice safety in our forests and on our waters.

Our people and their friendly welcome. A climate that’s unseasonably temperate. Authentic artisan crafts and exceptional local produce. All these reasons, and many more besides make Cowichan, Cowichan.

An open-armed embrace and warm smile welcomes every visitor. Sharing what’s ours comes naturally, in fact we take great pride in it – not just what we make and grow, but our land, water and mountains; our heritage, quirkiness and optimism.

Please, go with the slow, and travel mindfully.

August 23, 2023: Stage 3 water restrictions

Stage 3 water restrictions are in place to help Cowichan residents, businesses, and visitors conserve water during this hot, dry summer. Urgent water conservation is needed to reduce water consumption in our region.

Drought can lead to overall reduced water availability for household and business use. Lower stream flows may cause warmer river temperatures, affecting fish and other aquatic life.

Our local ecosystems are counting on all of us to conserve water. Every drop counts.

Water conservation tips at:

Know Before You Go
Leave No Trace

Remember to Leave No Trace when visiting Cowichan. Please dispose of your garbage in proper receptacles and separate your recycling. Littering fines are as much as $2,000.

Indigenous Territory

We respectfully acknowledge that we live, work and play on the unceded and traditional territory of the Quw’utsun, Malahat, Ts’uubaa-asatx, Halalt, Penelakut, Stz’uminus, Lyackson, Pauquachin, Ditidaht & Pacheedaht Peoples.⁠

Have a Trip Plan

Respect the terrain, environment, and other users while enjoying the trails. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. @bcadvsmart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading outdoors. Remember to follow the #LeaveNoTrace principles.⁠

Be Fire Smart

Forest fires and wildfires are a major threat to British Columbia’s forests. Visit the provincial government’s Wildfire Service webpage for further information on wildfire activity and prevention and fire restrictions and bans or consult the campgrounds you plan to visit ahead of your stay.

Be sure to practice campfire safety when campfires are allowed. Use a designated campfire pit or construct a containment ring with rocks. Scrape down the dirt one metre around the fire area and remove flammable items, such as twigs, leaves and needles. Have at least 8 litres of water at hand and/or a shovel to properly extinguish it. Build the campfire no larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres or approximately 19” x 19”. Never leave a campfire unattended. Properly extinguish it so ashes are cool to the touch.

Practice Water Safety

Always bring a PFD when enjoying water activities. Avoid alcohol consumption, understand the water conditions and never swim alone. Always have a buddy and keep an eye out for each other.

Visitors to B.C. should understand the possible dangers in or near B.C.’s lakes and rivers. These include sudden drop-offs into deep water; unexpected, underwater obstacles; and unstable or slippery rock edges above cliffs and waterfalls. Waters in B.C. are also frequently much colder than in other countries or provinces. If you are hosting, someone from out of town, be sure to warn them of these potential hazards.

Be Bear Aware

1. Plan ahead. All of BC is considered wildlife country. Know what type of wildlife you are likely to encounter while recreating and take the necessary steps to avoid an encounter. If you do encounter wildlife, know how to react appropriately. When exploring trails or camping, check for recent wildlife alerts or notices that may be posted on the campground websites. When you arrive at your location, check the local Visitor’s Centre for recent information.

2. Know the wildlife’s timetable. Are they in the area year-round and can you schedule your recreation in that area to be at a time when the wildlife won’t be there? Or is there a daily routine for the wildlife? Often mid-day is a good time to avoid many types of larger predators and conversely, dawn and dusk, are inopportune times to be in the area.

3. Wildlife avoidance is better than having to deal with wildlife directly. Whether it is a bear, cougar or a defensive cow moose, it is always better to have avoided a confrontation than to have to try to survive one.

4. Take wildlife safety training. Specific knowledge about bear, cougars, rattlesnakes and other species will allow you to carry out your job safely.

5. Carry bear spray with you at all times. Bear spray is effective against all large mammals and should be your first choice as a deterrent. Ensure that you keep the bear spray accessible regardless of your activity. Learn more about bear spray and watch our safety video.

6. Certain sports, like mountain biking or running, increase your risk of encountering wildlife (due to your speed and lack of sound) – recognize this and increase your vigilance.

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