Bear Report - April 26, 2019

(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: April 19 to April 26, 2019
Welcome to the first weekly bear report of 2019!


Welcome back to another bear season in the Bow Valley! Black bears have been seen in around Canmore and on both sides of the valley near residential areas and popular hiking areas. There has been grizzly bear activity in the Kananaskis Valley and reports of grizzly and black bears in other areas in the Bow Valley in the past week. Mother bears have and will continue to emerge from their dens with their cubs. Give these new mothers and their young lots of space. Bears are not the only wildlife that are out and about as a cougar was seen recently in a residential area on the south side of the river in Canmore.

At this time of the year, bears are emerging from their dens hungry, and are often found in the valley bottoms looking for foods such as fresh shoots, roots, bulbs, and dandelions. This can result in an increased chance of encounters with humans as we too spend most of our time in the valley bottoms! Bears may also be found in the run-out zones of avalanche paths looking for carcasses of animals (bighorn sheep, mountain goats and elk) that were caught in slides over the winter.

Photo taken on April 21, 2019

You can reduce the risk of bear encounters if you remain vigilant when recreating outdoors! Make lots of noise to alert animals of your presence, travel in groups, keep dogs on leash, be aware of your surroundings (look and listen for signs of wildlife such as tracks and scat), and carry bear spray in an easily accessible location and know how to use it. Bear spray should be carried while walking on well travelled trails, including the trails in and around town.

The ditches will be greening up along the highways in the Bow Valley very shortly and that is going to draw all kinds of wildlife into the ditches looking for that green grass. Motorists need to obey speed limits and constantly scan for wildlife feeding in the ditches along roadways. If you see one animal be prepared to see more and adjust your speed accordingly. We see a high mortality rate of wildlife from vehicles in the Bow Valley, so we want all motorists to travel safely and help protect our wildlife by understanding that the likelihood of encountering wildlife on or close to the road is increased during the spring season.

Photo taken on April 21, 2019

If you must stop on roadways to view wildlife, make sure it is done in a safe manner. 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 your vehicle.


Bear Closure - Sarrail Creek drainage below Mount Foch due to grizzly bear denning in the area disturbed by human presence. This closure does not affect the Rawson Lake area.

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

Here is a list of some Annual Closures in Kananaskis Country.

A complete list of all warnings and closures is available here for anyone visiting the Bow Valley, Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.

A complete list of all warnings and closures is 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.


To celebrate and welcome bears back on the landscape for another year, WildSmart once again hosted Bear Day at Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park’s Day Lodge on April 13th. We had a great turnout with many eager people who came out to become more bear aware. This included learning how to use bear spray, refreshing their bear safety knowledge, learning how to camp safely in bear country, viewing grizzly bear and other wildlife displays, chatting with our Volunteer Wildlife Ambassadors and joining WildSmart on a family hike where participants learned how to avoid bears and handle a variety of different bear encounters (with Kare-Bear) out on the trail.