Bear Report - May 31, 2019

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(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: May 24 to May 31, 2019


Local wildlife continue to be in the news this past week! Black bears have been seen on both sides of the valley, throughout the Bow Valley, in and around residential areas, along the river trails and in the area between the Nordic Centre and Three Sisters.

Remember to keep your yards free of wildlife attractants such as garbage, recycling, bird-feeders, pet food and fruit bearing trees and shrubs. Do not feed wildlife, as is emphasized in this recent article. Bird feeders are to be taken down during bear season (April 1 to November 30), and there have been a few recent reports of bird feeders that are still out! The Town of Canmore has a Wildlife Attractant Bylaw, which includes bird feeders, and residents can be fined for having wildlife attractants accumulate to the point that they attract dangerous wildlife to their yards. Click here for more information and to download a copy of the bylaw.

Grizzly bear activity in Kananaskis Country remains steady and several females with cubs have been seen moving around the landscape. Mother bears can be extremely protective of their cubs so make sure to give family groups of bears lots of space, at least 100 meters. Make lots of noise in order to alert them of your presence, giving them time to move away.

This recent article about a cougar near Quarry Lake serves as a reminder that there are prey species in this valley such as deer and elk (and their calves) and predators such as bears and cougars have been known to come after them, even in and around town.

Wildlife can be encountered anywhere, anytime in the Bow Valley! You can reduce the risk of wildlife encounters if you remain vigilant when recreating outdoors and by being WildSmart at home. 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 has also been shown to be effective at deterring other wildlife such as cougars, wolves, coyotes and elk. Bear spray should be carried while walking on well travelled trails, including the trails in and around town.

A warning remains in effect in the Bow Valley for aggressive elk as there continue to be reports of close encounters with aggressive female elk along the river trails in Canmore, with the elk stopping short of making contact. It is elk calving season so we need to be very vigilant of mother elk and their calves who may be hiding in dense vegetation along many of the well used trails along the river and in and around town. Leave at least 30 meters of space between yourself and all elk and make sure you keep your dog on a leash as mother elk can become very defensive if they feel threatened. Remember that predators such as bears and cougars have been known to feed on elk calves in the valley so extra caution is advised at this time of year.


Bear Warning - Lower Lake Campground due to multiple grizzly bears in the area.

Area Closure - Black Prince Trail and Drainage, including Warspite Tarn area due to a carcass in the area.

Bear Warning - All trails and area at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park from highway 742 to the meadow due to a black bear sow with cubs in the area.

Bear Warning - The William Watson Lodge facility and surrounding trails due to a grizzly bear with two cubs frequenting the area.

Area Closure - King Creek Day Use Area and King Creek due to an animal carcass in the 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.


Come on out and join us this Sunday, June 2 at the Alpine Club of Canada’s Open House on Environmentalism and Sustainability at their Canmore Clubhouse from 11 am-3 pm. We will have a booth set up and look forward to having some great conversations about responsible recreation practices and how to be WildSmart at home!

In continued paws-itive news, we received another donation of $100 after last week’s bear report! Many thanks and we (including the local wildlife) really appreciate this support!