Just in time to catch the attention of winter backcountry enthusiasts, the provincial government have announced the co-ordination of a number of outdoor awareness programs.
"We can prevent needless accidents and injury if people educate themselves about the realities of outdoor recreation," said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Rich Coleman in announcing the Adventuresmart program. "They can be safe, while enjoying all that B.C. has to offer."
The goal of AdventureSmart is to prevent people from getting into trouble by expanding public awareness of outdoor safety. It will encompass a number of outdoor safety programs that already exist. It is also designed to encourage new programs.
Hug-A-Tree and Survive, a program delivered to kids by search and rescue volunteers, will be expanded across B.C. under the AdventureSmart banner.
YouthSafe, which is an initiative to teach outdoor safety guidelines to students in Grades K-12, and Avalanche Safety, which targets recreational backcountry hikers and skiers, are other programs that will benefit.
Search and rescue volunteers were called out 955 times to track lost or injured hikers, campers and skiers last year in B.C., so the theme this year is Get Informed and Go Outdoors.
"B.C.'s remarkable outdoor environment is not without its risks," said Mary Thomas, program officer with the National Search and Rescue Secretariat. "AdventureSmart is designed to address those risks and to help reduce the number of calls for search and rescue."
The provincial government will administer AdventureSmart and the NSRS and the B.C. Search and Rescue Association will provide funding. As well, a number of public and private sector organizations are providing promotional support.
For more information look up www.adventuresmart.ca .