Bear Activity Report

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Bear Activity: July 6 to July 12


(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)

For the period: July 6 to July 12, 2018

Welcome to the weekly bear report!


Grizzly and black bears continue to be seen on both sides of the valley, in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets, along many of the local trails and in residential areas in and around Canmore. Remember that bears can be encountered on popular and well travelled trails, and bear spray should be carried while walking on these trails!

Grizzly bear eating buffaloberries. Photo: Pat Kamenenka

Grizzly bear eating buffaloberries. Photo: Pat Kamenka

Berry season is here and the crop looks good! As you wander the trails you may notice bright yellow, orange and red buffaloberries growing on bushes. Many of these berries are already ripe, and they are one of the main sources of food for bears in the area. Bears may be so focused on eating them that they may not be paying attention to their surroundings or they may defend their berry patches. Make lots of noise to alert animals of your presence, especially while walking or biking through dense foliage or close to berry bushes. Remember to carry bear spray in an easily accessible location, know how to use it and check the expiry date on your can. Bear spray normally expires after 2-3 years and we recommend that you replace your expired bear spray to avoid a situation like this!

With all this warm weather we are having, it is important to remember not to leave your bear spray in the car as it may explode. If you must leave your bear spray in the car, store it in a bear spray safety travel container and out of direct sunlight.

Here are a few recent pictures of buffaloberries (Shepherdia canadensis) to help you recognize the berry patches:


Millenium Park berries

IMG_0023Please remove any berry bushes or branches with berries or other fruit on them from your yard, as these may attract wildlife into residential areas. Not all buffaloberry bushes produce fruit, so just removing the female bushes (the ones with fruit) should eliminate the attractant from your yard. With these berries now ripe on bushes, bears will be focused on eating so be extra bear aware while travelling through these areas.

A reminder to hikers, campers and all people recreating to properly secure garbage and attractants. Bears that gain access to these unnatural food sources can lose their natural fear of people, which increases the possibility of human-wildlife conflict. These bears can cause injury to people and pets, and destruction of property, resulting in bears being relocated or destroyed.

If you must stop on roadways to view wildlife, take your picture from a distance and move on. Do not linger at the location and never exit your vehicle to take a picture. Never feed wildlife or encourage wildlife to come closer to you or your vehicle.

If you have not already done so, please read the Human-Wildlife Coexistence (HWC) Technical Report and share your feedback and comments via email to: [email protected]

The Human-Wildlife Coexistence (HWC) Technical Report was created to provide recommendations to reduce conflict between wildlife and humans in the Bow Valley. Feedback received will help inform the implementation of the recommendations!

Current Warnings and Closures

-Bear Warning – Facility Zone in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park as grizzly bears with cubs have been frequenting campgrounds, day use areas, trailheads and trails.  Even if you are exercising all of the preventative behaviors (eg. being aware of bear signs, obeying closures, making noise on trail, dogs on leash), it is likely that you may have a bear encounter.

-Bear Closure – Lower Lake Day Use, Lower Lake Group Camp, and bike trail from Kananaskis Lakes Trail to Lower Lake Campground due to a grizzly bear with 2 cubs frequenting the area.

-Bear Warning – Troll Falls Trail and a portion of the Stoney Trail due to a bear frequenting the area.

-Bear Warning – Heart Creek Day Use Area, Heart Creek Trail and surrounding area due to black bears in the area feeding on berries.

-Bear Warning – Canyon Campground due to multiple bears frequenting the area.

-Bear Closure – Rawson Lake Trail and Sarrail Ridge due to multiple grizzly bears feeding in the area.

-Bear Closure - Chester Lake Trail and Day Use Area due to a grizzly bear and cub frequenting the area. The High Rockies Trail remains open through the closure. No parking available at Chester Day Use.

-Bear Closure - Windy Point Viewing area, conjunction to Price Camp Trail to Sheep River due to a cinnamon black bear in the area with fresh carcass.

-Bear Warning - Grassi Lakes Day Use Area Trails due to numerous black bears seen feeding on natural vegetation in close proximity to the trails.

-Bear Warning – Canmore Nordic Center Provincial Park due to numerous black bears seen feeding on natural vegetation.

-Bear Warning - Sandy McNabb Campground due to a black bear frequenting the campground.

Here is a list of some additional Annual Closures in Kananaskis Country. Note that most of these annual closures ended on June 15.

*Bears are not only found in closure and warning areas. You should always remain alert while walking, hiking, running and biking, and remember that bears can be encountered anytime, anywhere!

A complete list of all warnings and closures are available here for anyone visiting Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.

A complete list of all warnings and closures are available here for Banff National Park.

For more information on areas in the Bow Valley frequented by bears at this time of year visit our human-bear conflict summary map.

The information above is based upon a compilation of bear information provided by government agencies and unconfirmed sightings reported by the public over the last week. It is not intended to be used as a real time, complete record of where bears are in the valley.

And Now some Paws-itive News

Keep an eye out for the signs pictured below. They are not ‘Bear Warning’ signs, instead they are a reminder and an ‘FYI’ that bears are moving through recreational and residential areas within Canmore and that people need to be aware and prepared for possible encounters with bears and other wildlife. These signs will get moved around each week to some of the spots where bears have most recently been seen.

Signs around Canmore

Recent bear sighting signs in and around Canmore


Important Note:

Please do not use the comment box to report sightings of wildlife.

Report any sightings of a bear, cougar, wolf or any aggressive wildlife in Kananaskis or the Bow Valley to Kananaskis Emergency Services 403.591.7755

For current postings of Bear Warnings, Wildlife Warnings and Closures please visit the following page:
Kananaskis Country - Advisories and Public Safety

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