The role and function of wildlife corridors in maintaining connectivity in the lower Bow Valley
are becoming increasingly important if healthy wildlife populations are to persist (Clevenger et al.
Bow Valley wildlife underpass
(Photo J. Honeyman)
Wildlife underpasses along the Trans Canada highway and wildlife highway fencing were also
created to assist wildlife in moving across the valley safely. Wildlife corridors within the Bow Valley
were created to help mitigate concerns over habitat fragmentation and loss of habitat
connectivity. They also allow wildlife to bypass human communities, thereby reducing the likelihood
of wildlife-human conflicts. The importance of corridors is stressed in a report by the Bow Corridor
Ecosystem Advisory Group (BCEAG): "Habitat abandonment by wildlife due to high levels of human
activity is a common occurrence" and "increased contact with humans is directly linked to increased
human/wildlife interactions…and in the case of bears is directly linked to increased mortality"
From a bear-hazard perspective,
some wildlife corridors in the
Bow Valley are adjacent to
human developments containing
concentrated nodes of human
activity. As a result, both people
and wildlife, including large
carnivores, use the corridors.
Carnivores, such as some bears
that are wary of people, may
decide to stay away from the
fringe areas of corridors adjacent to developments. Other bears that are not as wary of people may not and, if attractants are available,
may choose to ignore the presence of humans in exchange for access to food resources. Specific
management practices have been adopted to reduce wildlife-human interactions within corridors and
habitat patches including seasonal and temporary trail closures, human-use monitoring, enforcement of
leash laws and educational messaging pertaining to wildlife corridors.
Bow Valley wildlife corridors, habitat patches and underpasses
Clevenger, A.P., B. Chruszcz, K. Gunson and M. Brumfit. 2002.
Monitoring, Three Sisters Parkway Interchange.
Final report. Alberta Environment,
BCEAG. 1999. Wildlife corridor and habitat patch guidelines for the Bow Valley. Revised 1999.
Prepared for Municipal District of Bighorn, Town of Canmore, Banff National Park, Government of