Make sure your outdoor summer adventure is a safe one

Itching to get out and explore Canada’s great outdoors? Summer is the perfect time to do it. But whether it’s hiking a section of The Great Trail, or camping in one of Canada’s amazing parks, it’s important to know certain rules to stay safe—including the rail safety basics.
When you’re exploring the wilderness, it may be tempting to think that railway tracks don’t pose a risk. But there are more than 46,000 kilometres of railway tracks across Canada, including many remote areas of the country—and they are never safe to walk on! Even if you come across tracks that look abandoned, it doesn’t mean they aren’t in use (unless they are clearly marked as safe and inactive). Often, tracks that have been deactivated can come back into service, so you never know when a train might come barreling down them.
Staying clear of tracks is the only safe option
When choosing a campsite, campers need to be aware of any hazards in the vicinity, including railway tracks. You wouldn’t camp on the edge of a cliff, so why pitch a tent near train tracks? Whether doing backcountry camping on Crown land, or at national and provincial parks, campers should always set up tents or park trailers or RVs far away from tracks.
“The number one rule is to stay off railway tracks. Period,” says Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver. “When out hiking and exploring the area around campsites, campers should never use tracks as a path or a shortcut. It isn’t just illegal, it can be deadly.” ­
So, why not make brushing up on the rail safety rules part of your pre-hiking and camping checklist? You can find all the resources you need on Operation Lifesaver’s website. Then get out there and explore Canada’s outdoors—safely!