Glossary of BCMT Terms


Public access and camping regulated, permitted for foreseeable future. (example: Zorro Bay Ts’itpsm is a recreation site created by BC Marine Trails and currently maintained by the Sea Kayak Association of BC).

Informal site

Visited by paddlers, other boaters. Assessed by BC Marine Trails. Currently on public land. Consultations with First Nations as to its suitability are planned or in process. Do not disturb soils or remove anything but waste.

Dispersed site

Visited by paddlers, other boaters. Assessed by BC Marine Trails. Currently on regulated public land where dispersed public camping is permitted (example: a BC Parks location where dispersed wilderness camping is permitted).

Launch site

Use of public foreshore permitted. Upland public vehicle access is regulated, permitted for foreseeable future.

Private/ commercial

Long term availability uncertain.

Day use

Use of public foreshore permitted. Any upland public access regulated, permitted for foreseeable future. Camping not permitted nor practical.

Emergency pullout

Landing assessed by BC Marine Trails. For emergency use only. Private upland and/or restrictions at the request of First Nations.

Closed site

Public access and camping not permissible. Additional information regarding the closure is available in the site pop-up.

Type of Site Classification

Primary Site

Will have:

  • An all-weather landing (most instances)
  • Landing on all tides
  • Shelter on shore from winds
  • 4+ tent sites

Secondary Site

May have one or more of the following limitations:

  • Lacks an all-weather landing
  • Unable to land on all tides
  • No shelter on shore from winds
  • Have a small size or capacity

Substrate Terms used by BCMT on map descriptions (generally landings)

  • Boulder — Separate stone chunks that are too massive to lift easily. Usually rounded by erosion but may be jagged.
  • Cobble — Rounded worn stones that may be picked up but only one will fit in the hand.
  • Gravel — Small pieces of stone, angular or rounded.
  • Pebble — Small pieces of stone that are rounded by erosion. Several will fit in the hand.
  • Reef — Rock outcrop in shallow water, may or may not uncover at some water levels.
  • Riprap — Large broken chunks of stone that are often used to protect shores. They do not roll about and are large enough to remain in place.
  • Rock — Properly means bedrock rather than separate chunks of stone, but often used loosely to indicate a mix of various sizes of stone pieces possibly mixed with bedrock.
  • Rubble — Broken pieces of stone that are not rounded by erosion.
  • Sand — Fine grained stone particles.
  • Shingle — Mixed small rounded stones (pebbles and cobbles).

Commonly Used BCMT Terms

  • Aspect — The direction an object faces (e.g., Beach N aspect means that the beach faces North).
  • BCMT — Also known as BCMTNA, BC Marine Trails Network Association. 
  • Brushing — Small scale removal of fallen branches and vegetation. Might include removal of some low tree branches.
  • Canoe Run — Intertidal area on beach cleared of boulders and obstructions for launching and retrieving small boats. Also known as boat run or canoe skid. Might be of historical and cultural significance so should not be altered.
  • Clam Garden — Structure of stones designed to trap sand and silt on a beach to promote colonization by clams or other shellfish for subsequent harvest.
  • Danger Tree — Trees suspended in mid-air that may fall to the ground or onto a passing hiker or campsite.
  • DTA — Acronym for Danger Tree Assessment, a formal process by a qualified assessor to determine the level of risk posed by the tree and appropriate response.
  • First Nations Engagement — One of three pillar committees of the BCMT.
  • Fish Trap — Structure of stones and tree branches designed to prevent the escape of fish from a tidal pool or stream. Also may be referred to as fish weir.
  • High Water — (HW) the maximum water height for that tidal cycle. Often called high tide. There are 2 high and 2 low tides daily in these waters, but they are often quite different in height.
  • NAD 27 — North American Datum from 1927 – an old mapping datum almost completely replaced by NAD 83. Difference can be up to about 200 m for both East and North axes, depending on where you are.
  • NAD 83 — Current mapping (geodetic) datum – model of world for geographical purposes. Essentially similar to WGS 84 datum commonly used by GPS systems. CHS charts published after 1990 use this datum.
  • Neaps — Type of tide that is the opposite of Springs. The monthly smaller tide ranges.
  • Protecting the Coast/Stewardship Committee — One of three pillar committees of the BCMT.
  • Recreational Sites and Trails BC — Division under BC Parks that oversees recreation sites in BC.
  • Springs — Type of tide that occur monthly, not only in the spring season. They have a greater range than at other times of the month, so result in higher water at highs and lower water at lows – generally making landings and departures from shores more of a challenge. Also, much greater volumes of water are in motion at these times of the month – meaning stronger, faster tidal currents.
  • Supersack — A large canvas bag used in beach clean-ups to hold all the marine debris collected. Typically 1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m, white synthetic canvas, with a drawcord to close the sack, and broad tapes sewn around the body to leading to loops at the top to allow it to be airlifted or hauled away.
  • TDC — Trails Development Committee. One of the 3 core committees at the heart of BCMT.
  • Upland — Any part of the shore that does not flood at any time of the month or year