Bear Activity Report

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Bear Activity: June 29 to July 5


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

For the period: June 29 to July 5, 2018

Welcome to the weekly bear report!


There have been multiple reports of black bears seen along the busy river trails in and around Canmore, as well as throughout the south side of the valley from the Canmore Nordic Centre to the Three Sisters Area. Both grizzly and black bears continue to be seen in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets and in residential areas in and around Canmore on both sides of the Bow Valley. Remember that bears can be encountered on popular and well travelled trails, and bear spray should be carried while walking on these trails in and around town! There are bear warnings at the Canmore Nordic Centre and Grassi Lakes, two very busy and popular places to recreate near Canmore! (See Warnings and Closures section below)

We are heading into berry season, as is evident from the recent photo below! You may notice on the trail that most of the buffaloberry bushes have unripe berries on them. With the recent rain and upcoming warm weather, these berries will likely ripen up and become a primary source of food for bears within the next few weeks.

Some of the first rip buffalo berries of the year. Photo courtesy of Derek Ryder

Some of the first ripe buffaloberries of the year. Photo courtesy of Derek Ryder

Make lots of noise 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!

Please remove any berry bushes or branches with berries or other fruit on them from your yard, as these may attract wildlife into residential areas. The following map illustrates where human-bear conflict has been occurring during berry season (mid July to mid September) between 2000 and 2014. This summary is based upon a compilation of bear and wildlife information provided by government agencies and unconfirmed sightings reported by the public each week. It is not intended to be used as a real time, complete record of where bears are in the valley.

Human-Bear Conflict Summary 2000-2014 Map for berry season.

Human-Bear Conflict Summary for berry season

Now that the warmer weather has arrived, it serves as a great reminder not to leave your bear spray in the car on a hot day. Last year, one unfortunate Bow Valley resident found out what happens the hard way, when she came back to her car and found her can of bear spray had exploded, covering the inside of her car. If you must leave your bear spray in the car, store it in a bear spray safety travel container and out of direct sunlight.

A can of bear spray which exploded while being left in the car on a hot day

A can of bear spray that exploded while left in the car on a hot day last summer

Most mother elk have now had their calves and the youngsters are up and running around. Female elk will still aggressively defend their calves. Be aware of your surroundings, even on popular and well visited trails around town. If you see a mother elk and calf do not approach and make sure to give them lots of space, at least 30 meters!

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 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 Area.

-Bear Closure - Windy Point Trail due to a cinnamon black bear in the area with a 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.

-Bear Warning – Indian Oils and Sheep River Trail due to a black bear sow with cub bluff charging a hiker and leashed dog.

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

We mostly read and hear about bear encounters that are negative. Here is a great example of an encounter with a grizzly bear on EEOR (East End of Rundle) that was handled very well and as a result ended up being a paws-itive encounter. Some great lessons to take away from this encounter are that they remained calm, they did not panic, they did not run away, they backed away slowly and stayed together as a group, they talked calmly to the bear, they were carrying bear spray and were ready to use it and they seemed prepared and ready to handle an encounter.

Although we do not recommend making videos during an encounter, this encounter went smoothly, without incident and all the bear wanted to do was walk along the trail!


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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