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Keep cool and stay safe at our recreation areas

Bridge River recreation site
The Gun Creek campground is on the Carpenter Reservoir, which is part of BC Hydro's Bridge River hydroelectric system. Surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery, the rustic Gun Creek Campground is a popular stop for those on a driving tour of the Duffey Lake and Hurley Roads or visiting the Gold Bridge area.

Recreation sites throughout B.C. offer fun activities, scenic views

As August heats up, one of the best ways to cool down is to spend time by the water. Summer is the time to take advantage of the sunny weather, get outdoors and explore British Columbia's stunning landscape.

If you're looking to be near the water, some of the best places to visit are the recreation areas managed by BC Hydro. The areas have something for everyone, whether you just want a place to hang out for the day, or spend the weekend camping. Recreation sites are located all through the province in northern B.C., the southern interior, Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

But wherever you spend time this summer, remember to keep your safety top of mind. Use these tips to help ensure you have a safe, enjoyable day.

Northern gems

What's your summer activity of choice?

If you like to swim and you're up north, your best bet is to visit Alexander Mackenzie's Landing. Located in Mackenzie, this area has a sandy beach and a picnic area. There's easy access to hiking, boating and fishing, as well as a campground if you want to spend the night. If you enjoy fishing, you may want to check out Williston Reservoir and Dinosaur Reservoir in Hudson's Hope. Launch your boat using one of the multiple boat launch ramps, and try to catch some rainbow trout or rocky mountain whitefish.

While you're in the area, be sure to stop in at the W.A.C Bennett Dam Visitor Centre to get a great view of one of the world's largest earth-filled dams, take a tour of the powerhouse and see the massive turbines up close. Check out the nearby Peace Canyon Dam Visitor Centre to learn about the area's natural and pioneer history, and see the exhibits on the building of the Peace Canyon Project.

Scenic sites in southern B.C.

If you find yourself in the southern region of B.C. plan a visit to the Pend d'Oreille Reservoir. Not only can you camp for free at the Buckley Campground, but there is also a spot for swimming, and opportunities for boating and fishing. You might even spot some wildlife in the area including deer and bears.

If you want a nice view, check out the Seton Lake recreational area. The Seton viewpoint provides a fantastic view emerald-green waters of the reservoir and the surrounding Chilcotin mountains.

Another place to visit in the southern region is the Revelstoke Dam Visitor Centre. Learn about the construction of the complex project, and for spectacular views, ride the elevator 175 metres up to the very top of the concrete dam.

Buntzen Lake
Summer and a beautiful setting near Vancouver make Buntzen Lake reservoir the most popular BC Hydro recreation site.

Hiking trails in the Lower Mainland

If you're into hiking, Buntzen Lake reservoir is the spot for you. Whether you want to enjoy a short stroll through a coastal lowland rain forest, or you're an experienced hiker looking for a more adventurous hike into the surrounding mountains, the Buntzen Lake trails won't disappoint.

Buntzen's trails are all dog friendly. There are even designated trails for mountain bikers and horseback riders.

Hayward Lake is a beautiful spot to spend the day picnicking, with 90 metres of beach and open grass playing areas. Make a day out of your visit to Hayward Lake by visiting the Powerhouse at Stave Falls Visitor Centre. Take a self-guided tour, learn about hydroelectric history in the theatre, and check out historic artefacts like turbines and generators from 1912.

Mountain biking on Vancouver Island

If you're on the island this summer and want to do some hiking, visit the Puntledge River recreation area. The area offers a variety of scenic hiking trails, and also has designated mountain biking trails.

For great fishing, check out the recreation area around the Strathcona Dam and try to catch some rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden char.

Check out a full list of BC Hydro recreation areas and the activities they offer.

Have fun, but remember to stay safe

The rivers, lakes, and reservoirs near our generating stations can be great places for swimming and boating, but it's important to remember that water levels and flows may change quickly, and there are no lifeguards in the area.

If you're planning to swim, here's how you can stay safe:

  • Pay attention to warning signs and keep out of restricted areas
  • Look around before jumping in the water: there may be hazards hidden beneath the surface
  • Supervise children, and make sure anyone who can't swim is wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) while in the water

If you're spending the day on the water boating or fishing, remember to stay safe with these rules:

  • Everyone on the boat must be wearing an approved personal floatation device (PFD).
  • Make sure your boat or canoe is equipped with a whistle, or other noisemaker, that can be used to signal for help
  • Keep outside of safety booms and buoys, and away from all dam structures.
  • Never stop, anchor, or tie your boat below a dam. Water flows can change quickly, swamping your boat or creating a dangerous undertow.

If you're camping at one of our campgrounds and want to have a fire, first check whether burn bans are in effect. Fires in the dry summers can create a risk of forest fires, so be sure to follow these safety rules with your campfires:

  • Keep your fire contained within the metal fire ring
  • Don't light a fire if there are high winds
  • Fully extinguish your fire when you're done. Flip over all wood, pour water over the coals and embers, and stir everything around. You should be able to put your hand in the ashes without feeling any heat.

If you see a forest fire this summer, call 1 800 663 5555.

By simply following some safety rules, your time visiting our recreation areas can by more enjoyable.

Find more ways to stay safe outdoors this summer