Bear Report - June 14, 2019

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(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: June 7 to June 14, 2019


Black bears continue to be seen on both sides of the valley, in residential areas in and around Canmore and along the river trails. There have also been a few unconfirmed sighting of grizzly bears in the Bow Valley. The black bear sow with two small cubs continues to be seen in the vicinity of the Canmore Nordic Centre, Grassi Lakes and Rundleview area (see warnings below). Several female grizzly and black bears with cubs have been seen moving around in Kananaskis Country (see warnings below). 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. Do not allow them to gain access to unnatural food sources such as garbage, bird-feeders, pet food and fruit bearing trees and shrubs as they can lose their natural fear of people, which increases the probability of human-wildlife conflict. These bears can cause injury to people and pets and destroy property, resulting in bears being relocated or destroyed.

Photo by Francesco Del Greco

A reminder not to disturb or “rescue” baby animals such as deer, elk, birds and ducks. Mothers may leave their young in search of food so you may find these babies all alone. Please leave the babies where they are as their mothers will eventually come back.

It is still elk calving season and there are aggressive female elk protecting their calves on the trails along the Bow River in Canmore. People need to be aware of their surroundings and stay at least 30 meters away from all elk. Calves are often hidden in dense vegetation along the trails so extra vigilance is required.

Wildlife can be encountered anywhere, anytime in the Bow Valley! Here are some reminders about how to be proactive and help reduce the risk of wildlife encounters:

  • Make lots of noise to alert animals of your presence

  • Travel in groups

  • Be aware of your surroundings (look and listen for wildlife and their signs, i.e. tracks and scat)

  • Keep dogs on-leash and remember to pick up after your dogs as their feces can act as an attractant for bears

  • Do not leave any garbage, remnants of food or items that have a smell outside as they may attract wildlife

  • 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, and it should be carried while walking on well travelled trails, including the trails in and around town.


Aggressive Elk Warning - The trails along the Bow River in Canmore due to recent close encounters with aggressive female elk protecting their calves.

Bear Warning - Grassi Lakes Day Use Area and surrounding trails due to a black bear sow with cubs frequenting 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 - Kananaskis Village hotels and staff housing areas including the Village Rim trail, baseball diamond, and nearby circulation trails due to multiple black bears with cubs frequenting the area.

Bear Closure - Opal Ridge near Fortress Junction due to a female grizzly bear with two young of the year cubs in the area.

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

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


On Tuesday, students from Exshaw School and Lawrence Grassi Middle School came together for a cross-cultural bear sharing day to learn and teach about the ways of the bear. This recent article provides an overview of this peer-to-peer learning day. Thank you to the Elders, Knowledge Keepers, teachers, volunteers and sponsors that made this day a huge success!