BEAR SUMMARY FOR THE BOW VALLEY
(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the Period: July 15 to July 21, 2016
Welcome to the ongoing weekly bear reports for 2016.
Several encounters to report this week. A bear, defending her cubs, attacked two people in Waiparous on Tuesday. In another incident on Wednesday evening two bikers encountered a bear on the Lowline Trail in Canmore. One of the bikers was injured while the other deployed bear spray to deter the bear. In a incident on Thursday, a bear bluff charged a mountain biker at the Nordic Centre.
Wow! That’s a lot of scary encounters for one week. What’s going on with Bow Valley bears and why are we seeing these types of conflict? Well, 2016 has produced one of the best berry crops we’ve seen in years which is keeping our bears very happy and very busy eating. So busy that they are completely distracted and oblivious to the fact that you might be close by. When you do show up unexpectedly, they feel threatened and they think that you are trying to steal their berries! Most of these incidents involve defensive bears, that is bears that are trying to defend their food (berries), their space or their cubs.
So what can we do to keep ourselves and our bears safe? At the moment bears need their space. In terms of risk, if this were winter, the avalanche danger would be extreme and in just the same way that you might stay off the mountains in those conditions, now is the right time to stay off the trails – especially those with lots of berries and limited sight lines. Can’t do that? Make sure you travel in large groups (4 or more), slow down while biking, make A LOT OF NOISE, carry bear spray, know how to use it and have it easily accessible – preferably on your person. If you encounter a bear don’t run or bike away (they can move faster than you), instead back away slowly. If the bear approaches or charges, stand your ground and prepare to use your bear spray.
Current Bow Valley Closures and Warnings
-Bear Closure: Lowline Trail from Peaks of Grassi to the Three Sisters subdivision, including the area surrounding the powerline
-Bear Closure: Multiple trails at the Canmore Nordic Center. Check out the trail report here
-Bear Warning: Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Parks Area, including Highline Trail, East and West Connector Trails, Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park and Grassi Lakes Day Use Area
-Bear Warning: Yamnuska day use area and mountain trail
-Bear Warning: “Quebexican” bike trail between Stewart Creek Golf Course and Wind Valley
-Bear Warning: Old Sisters Haul Road located below the Stewart Creek Golf Course
Additional bear warnings and closures are available here for anyone visiting Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.
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
This week we’ve talked a lot about what happens when we encounter bears in the wild. But what about all that time when we’re not there? Watch this funny video from the Alberta Parks about the shenanigans that bears get up to when humans are nowhere to be seen.
Please remember BEARS CAN BE ENCOUNTERED ANYWHERE, ANYTIME!
Be aware of your surroundings, know how to reduce the likelihood of encounters and be prepared should an encounter take place. Always use caution by paying attention to signs of bear activity such as scats, tracks, and digging. Make lots of noise while hiking; hike in groups when possible; carry bear spray; know how to use it; and obey warnings and closures.