Brandon Bartelds smokes three joints at once while attending the 4-20 annual marijuana celebration, in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday April 20, 2018. One of British Columbia’s busiest rescue teams is warning backcountry hikers not to get high on their hike. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

B.C.’s search and rescue group concerned with commercial guided weed hikes

Group says it’s dangerous to get high in the backcountry

One of British Columbia’s busiest rescue teams is warning backcountry hikers not to get high on their hike.

Curtis Jones with B.C.’s North Shore Search and Rescue said the statement issued on the agency’s website is a proactive attempt before marijuana legalization this October to make sure hikers are aware of the dangers of experimenting with drugs in rough terrain.

Jones said a fellow search and rescue teammate sent him an article about a group that spoke about the benefits of outdoor activities pair with cannabis use.

He said in a blog posted on the North Shore Rescue website that they might expect social-media influencers and entrepreneurs to promote experiences that mesh with the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

“Generally speaking, whenever people go on the mountains and they aren’t in their right frame of mind, it vastly increases their chances of having to utilize our services,” said Jones in a phone interview.

“It increases the risk for our members when we’re going out there and not dealing with someone in a clear state of mind.”

READ MORE: Police recover body of missing Surrey man, 19, from Buntzen Lake

READ MORE: Two hornet-stung hikers rescued near Buntzen Lake

He said experienced hikers on the North Shore mountains regularly make mistakes and need search and rescue assistance, and that any substance that could alter the mental state raises the odds of a potentially deadly incident.

Bethany Rae is the CEO of Flower & Freedom, an organization that she said wants to create a safe space to help people learn about cannabis consumption and how it can be part of an active lifestyle.

Rae said in an interview that her organization does not support experimentation with cannabis in dangerous settings, but does encourage potential users to educate themselves before engaging in any scenario for which they may not be prepared.

“We aren’t suggesting anyone go out in the backcountry and get high,” she said. “And especially for novice or brand-new consumers.”

Flower and Freedom doesn’t supply marijuana to participants said Rae.

She said the use of marijuana before their yoga classes is just like someone consuming cannabis for medicinal purposes.

“There are many people around us every day consuming cannabis for therapeutic and medical reasons, perhaps we don’t know about it because of the stigma around it,” Rae said.

In a post on Flower & Freedom’s website titled “Outdoor Adventure Cannabis Tours Are Coming to Vancouver”, Tristan Slade of High Definition Tours spoke about his experience using cannabis as part of his fitness lifestyle.

Slade wasn’t available for an interview, but said in a statement that High Definition Tours does not have any guided backcountry hikes involving cannabis consumption scheduled yet, but “do realize that cannabis consumption does not always induce psychoactive effects and that cannabis can be consumed as part of an active lifestyle.”

Both he and Rae agreed that people need to educate themselves when consuming marijuana.

Jones said he doesn’t think his post will change people’s perceptions about using drugs or alcohol on hikes, but he hoped it would reach hikers experimenting with their marijuana tolerance before the search and rescue team has to find them on a mountain.

“It’s not the place to do it.”

Spencer Harwood, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford playgrounds to re-open Monday

City urges public to bring hand-sanitizer and maintain physical distancing

Police watchdog investigating after man injured during Abbotsford standoff

Man seriously injured during arrest on May 21 at Abbotsford hotel room

New executive director for Fraser Valley Child Development Centre

Karen Dickenson Smith succeeds Karen McLean, who has retired after 22 years

Annual Walk for Alzheimer’s goes online on May 31

Event held every year in Abbotsford now raising funds through virtual event

UPDATE: Man from Mexico reported missing in Abbotsford has been located

Police report that Antonio Fernandez, 29, has been found safe and sound

Vancouver Island bride held wedding in seniors home so dying stepdad could walk her down aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Langley Lodge ordered to swab all residents staff, new cases discovered

Four new cases – two residents and two staff – have been confirmed at the long-term care home

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Most Read