A) Day Hiking (normal risk)

Day hiking refers to walking with light daypacks, without the expectation of camping out overnight

B) Day Hiking & Backpacking (higher risk)

Day Hiking refers to walking with light daypacks, without the expectation of camping overnight. 

Backpacking refers to carrying the clothing, equipment and provisions the group needs to camp out one or more nights on the trail.

Day Hike Policy

Related imageDay Hiking – Normal Risk

Image result for yellow circle Simple terrain: few junctions, relatively short and gentle slopes, reasonably smooth trail surface

Image result for yellow circle Local: in the community (e.g., urban park, nearby regional park)

Image result for yellow circle Low inherent risk in the activity

Image result for yellow circle Minimal fitness required

Image result for yellow circle Clear boundaries for activity: hard to be lost for more than an hour

Image result for yellow circle Short duration: typically (but not always) less than a half-a-day in duration

Image result for yellow circle Near support services: e.g., buildings or vehicles accessible

Image result for yellow circle Close to emergency services: less than 20 minutes from EMS arrival on-site

Image result for yellow circle No specific teacher/leader qualification or certification required: an adult could implement the guidelines without specific technical training

Image result for yellow circle Minimal preparation time of students: an hour or less student prep needed

Planning, communications, and forms for day hikes:

  • Grade 3+ most appropriate
  •  Outline the activity: Who (what class or group) do you want to take where, when, to do what activity(ies), and why (goals, student learning outcomes and/or other rationale for the outing).
  •  Include the above outline of activity & goals in a letter to parents/guardians along with the Low/Normal Risk activity form
  • Reconnaissance trip to get familiar with specific site to best prepare for the day and your risk management plan.
  • Gear List:  Identify personal and group equipment needed
  • Prepare your students: outdoors contract, animal awareness, outdoor ethics, weather check, clothing, footwear, emergencies etc. Outdoor prep Lessons.
  • Secure off-site activity approval: Low/Normal Risk activity form, approved by schools administration
  •  Identify known potential risks: Remember to bring all safety and communications necessary for your hike and leave a trip plan.
  • Special considerations: Students and adults are adequately prepared for the distance and weather (food, water, clothing).  Extra support for students with high needs. Medications, (ex. epi-pen, inhaler).  Check List

NOTE: When hiking with students, safety management approaches will vary somewhat depending on the age and maturity of the students.

Higher Risk Back-Packing Policy

Image result for hiking iconDay Hiking/Backpacking Higher Risk

Related image Complex terrain: multiple junctions, long steep climbs/descents, rough trail terrain

Related image Semi-remote to remote: out of the community (e.g., provincial park; wilderness area)

Related image Higher inherent risk in the activity

Related image Significant fitness required

Related image Lack of clear boundaries for activity: one could be lost for more than an hour

Related image Long duration: typically (but not always) a half-day to full day

Related image Support services not close: far from buildings and/or vehicles

Related image Not close to emergency services: more than 20 minutes from EMS arrival on-site

Related image Specific leadership training required: some specific technical and leadership training indicated

Related image Significant preparation time of students: more than an hour of student prep needed

Planning, communications, and forms for day/backpacking hikes:

       Day Hiking  Grade 3+

      Overnight Backpacking  Grade 6+

      Extended Backpacking  Grade 7+

  • Outline the activity: Who (what class or group) do you want to take where, when, to do what activity(ies), and why (goals, student learning outcomes and/or other rationale for the outing).
  •  Secure off-site activity approval: Higher Risk activity form, approved by schools administration
  •  Include the above outline of activity & goals in a letter to parents/guardians along with the Higher Risk activity form
  • Student Health Medical Form for Higher Risk Activities
  •  Volunteer Higher Risk Forms – Assessment / Health /Acknowledgment of Risk
  •  Assessing Teacher/ Leader Readiness for Higher Care Activities 
  •  Reconnaissance trip to get familiar with specific site to best prepare for the day and your risk management plan.
  •  Identify known potential risks: Remember to bring all safety and communications necessary for your hike and leave a trip plan.
  •  Gear List & Tele communications:  Identify personal and group equipment needed
  •  Prepare your students: outdoors contract, animal awareness, outdoor ethics, weather check, clothing, footwear, emergencies etc. Outdoor prep Lessons.
  • Special considerations: Students and adults are adequately prepared for the distance and weather (food, water, clothing).  Extra support for students with high needs. Medications, (ex. epi-pen, inhaler).  Check List

NOTE: When hiking with students, safety management approaches will vary somewhat depending on the age and maturity of the students.