BEAR SUMMARY FOR THE BOW VALLEY
(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the Period: June 17 to June 23, 2016
Welcome to the ongoing weekly bear reports for 2016.
This year, thanks to your feedback, we’re trying a slightly different format. As always we love to hear from our readers. Please let us know if you have any comments or concerns.
On Thursday the decision was made to upgrade the warning to a closure on the Legacy Trail between the Travel AB tourist information booth on the west side of Canmore and the East Gate of Banff National Park. The decision was made after there were several reports of grizzly(s) in the area. Wildlife officials were dispatched to monitor the situation. A survey of people using the Legacy Trail on Thursday showed that only 5 of the approximately 150 people wildlife officials spoke to had bear spray with them. Given the close proximity of bears and the lack of preparedness of trail users, officials decided to close the trail and re-direct users to an alternate route. For more information on the closure take a look at this Crag and Canyon article. Check out the map below to see the closed area and the alternate route and just FYI ignoring a closure sign can result in a fine, jail time or both. Bears have also been spotted in parts of the valley feeding on ripe buffaloberry – Shepherdia Canadensis, marking the beginning of another berry season!
On the morning of Friday the 24th, an adult male cinnamon coloured black bear was hit and killed by an automobile on the TCH west of Lacs des Arcs.
While the Legacy Trail is the only bear closure in the valley this week, bears have been reported on both sides of the Bow Valley. On the south side bears have been reported in a variety of places including at the Canmore Nordic Center, Peaks of Grassi, and the Three Sisters. On the north side bears have been spotted in Cougar Creek and on the G8. Residents, hikers and bikers should be aware that bears can be seen anywhere around the Bow Valley and should always be aware of their surroundings, make noise and carry bear spray when recreating outdoors.
Current Closures and Warnings
-As discussed above there is a closure on the Legacy Trail, between Canmore and the East Gate of Banff National Park as there are multiple reports of grizzly(s) in the area.
- On Friday a bear warning for the Canmore Nordic Centre and Grassi lakes Day Use Area was issued.
-The elk closure in the Benchlands is still in effect.
For more information on areas in the Bow Valley frequented by bears at this time of year visit our human-bear conflict summary map.
Additional bear warnings and closures are available here for anyone visiting Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.
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
Is your bear spray still in its plastic wrapper? At home on the shelf? In the trunk of your car? Or buried at the bottom of your backpack? Watch this short video from Alberta Parks on how to properly use bear spray. Be a kool kid*, carry your bear spray with you and know how to use it.
*Not actually for children. They’re cool enough. It’s you adults who should be carrying the bear spray. Get on it.
The closure on the Legacy Trail occurred because trail users were not prepared for encounters. As always avoidance and preparedness is key to preventing bear-human conflicts. 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 and biking; hike and bike in groups when possible; carry bear spray and know how to use it.