Bear Report - June 28, 2019

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(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: June 21 to June 28, 2019


There has been lots of wildlife activity this past week and multiple bears have been seen on both sides of the Bow Valley, in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets, and in residential areas in and around Canmore. There have been regular sightings of black bears at the Canmore Nordic Centre and Grassi Lakes (see warnings below).

Grizzly bear activity in Kananaskis Country has increased (see warnings and closures below), and several family groups continue to be seen feeding roadside. 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.

Most mother elk have now had their calves and the youngsters are up and running around. Female elk will still aggressively defend their calves. Be aware of your surroundings, even on popular and well visited trails around town and along the river. If you see a mother elk and calf, do not approach and make sure to give them lots of space, at least 30 meters.

Here are some things you can do to help keep everyone safe and wildlife wild on this busy long weekend.

1. Report garbage that is not in bear proof bins. If you notice any garbage left outside of bear proof bins, or garbage bins that are full around town, call the Town of Canmore at 403-678-1580.

2. Lead by example. Many visitors to the Bow Valley are from places that don’t have bears. Show them how it’s done by giving wildlife LOTS of space and by properly securing garbage and attractants. Wild animals that gain access to these unnatural food sources can lose their natural fear of people, which increases the probability of human-wildlife conflict. 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 from National Geographic. If a visitor (or local) has a question about what you’re doing, have a friendly chat and fill them in on some of the stuff they should know about being in bear country.

3. Slow down but don’t stop. Always slow down for wildlife, especially at this time of year when there are bear cubs and elk calves running around that are unaware of roads and cars. Help prevent wildlife jams by slowing down and not stopping. If you must stop on roadways to view wildlife, 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 you or your vehicle.

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.


Bear Closure - Prairie Creek Trail between Prairie Link and Powderface Road due to a cow carcass alongside the trail.

Bear Closure - Rawson Lake trail and Sarrail Ridge due to a grizzly bear and cub frequenting the area.

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 - 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.


Happy Canada Day and long weekend! WildSmart and the Volunteer Wildlife Ambassadors will be walking in the Canada Day Parade on July 1 and we will also have a booth on Main Street afterwards from 1:30-4:30pm. Drop by to see us - we look forward to chatting with you!

The 2018/19 school year wraps up this week but we're still smiling! This year marked many exciting new opportunities for the Biosphere Institute, including increased programming at Nakoda Elementary School, Morley Community School and Canmore Collegiate, more teacher trainings and our first ever peer-to-peer learning day with Canadian Rockies Public Schools. Happy and healthy summer vacation to all Bow Valley students and teachers from the Biosphere Institute. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.


Report any sightings of a bear, cougar, wolf or any aggressive wildlife in Kananaskis Country or the Bow Valley to Kananaskis Emergency Services at 403.591.7755