Pick a rail-safe campsite this summer

Camping is the perfect summer pastime. There’s nothing quite like sitting around a crackling campfire with friends or family, or listening to the call of a loon while you sleep under the stars.
These days, camping is more popular than ever. Many Canadians took up the pastime during the pandemic as a way to get out of the house during lockdowns. In fact, more than half-a-million Canadian households experienced camping for the first time in 2022, according to the 2023 North American Camping and Outdoor Hospitality Report.
But this rise in popularity has made finding spots at provincial and national campgrounds challenging, which could have Canadians looking for alternative places to pitch their tents or park their campers.
Find a spot far away from tracks and other hazards
There are many ways to find free camping in Canada—whether you use a van, an RV, or a tent. For instance, “backcountry camping” on Crown land doesn’t cost anything. But these sites are often in remote areas, which can sometimes be located near train tracks.  
“Campers need to ensure they’re setting up their tents or parking trailers or RVs in a safe location, far away from train tracks,” explains Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “When out hiking and exploring the area around their sites, they also need to stay clear of tracks—and never use them as a path or a shortcut. Trains can arrive at any time, from any direction, and can be remarkably quiet and fast.”
Staying safe means being prepared
Before you pick your spot, be aware of any hazards in the vicinity of your campsite, including railway tracks. And follow these additional safety rules to make sure your camping experience doesn't end in tragedy:
  • Abide by all fire bans and never leave campfires unattended
  • Check the weather forecast and be prepared for it
  • Have a first aid kit available at all times
  • Ensure food is stored safely and out-of-reach of animals
  • Let someone know your plans in case you run into problems
Now get out there and experience Canada’s great outdoors—but make sure you stay safe.