Bear Report - June 21, 2019

Did you know that WildSmart is a program of the Biosphere Institute, a local charity? Our work relies entirely on donations and sponsors. If you would like to support our community-based efforts to promote human-wildlife coexistence, please donate!

(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: June 14 to June 21, 2019


Grizzly and black bears continue to be seen on both sides of the Bow Valley, in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets, in and around the Canmore Nordic Centre, in residential areas around Canmore and along the river trails.

Although there have not been any more recent close encounters with aggressive female elk protecting their calves, elk are still calving along the trails in and around 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.

Numerous grizzly bears have recently been seen in Kananaskis Country in the Highway 40 corridor and roadside (see Warnings below). Wildlife are often seen along the highways, so 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.

Parks staff are trying to let bears feed near roads by implementing ‘No Stopping Zones’ in Kananaskis Country. If people do not respect the ‘No Stopping Zone’, Parks staff are forced to take action and move the bears away from the roadside and their feeding opportunity. Motorists are asked to slow down near roadside wildlife and to keep moving in order to give bears and other wildlife the space they need. Failure to obey the ‘No Stopping Zones’ may result in a fine.

An example of a ‘No Stopping Zone.’ Photo courtesy of Alberta Environment and Parks.

A reminder to hikers, campers and all people recreating to properly secure garbage and attractants. Wildlife that gain access to these unnatural food sources can lose their natural fear of people, which increases the probability of human-wildlife conflict (see Fox Warning below). These animals can cause injury to people and pets and destroy property, resulting in wildlife being relocated or destroyed. Read more about this topic in this recent article.

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, e.g. 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.


Fox Warning - Sundance Lodges, campground and area due to a food conditioned red fox in the area. The fox has been approaching campers attempting to gain access to human food left in firepits, on picnic tables and in cooking areas.

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 - Ribbon Creek Trail between the bike rack and Ribbon Falls due to an unconfirmed report of a fawn carcass in the creek close to the trail.

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.


It is very paws-itive to see that wildlife (even young grizzly bears that are out exploring) are using the underpasses!

Video courtesy of Alberta Environment and Parks