Bear Report - July 12, 2019

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(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: July 5 to July 12, 2019


There continues to be a lot of black bear activity in and around Canmore. A black bear sow with two cubs has been seen numerous times in the Grassi Lakes, Nordic Centre and engine bridge areas, including several neighbourhoods on the south side of the valley. Additional black bears have been seen in residential areas and along trails on both sides of the valley, in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets, and even in a restaurant on Main Street! A female grizzly bear with two young-of-year cubs has also recently been seen in the Bow Valley.

Photo courtesy of Derek Ryder

The buffaloberry crop in the Bow Valley is looking promising for the bears. Most of them are still green but a few have started to ripen and change colour. At this rate, we will be in berry season within the week. Please remember to remove any berry bushes or branches with berries or other fruit on them from your yard, to discourage bears from coming into residential areas. Here are a few recent pictures of buffaloberries (Shepherdia canadensis) in the Bow Valley.


As we are heading into berry season, it is a good time to start thinking 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. Be sure to check the expiry date on your can! Bear spray normally expires after 2-3 years and we recommend that you replace your expired bear spray. 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-traveled trails, including the trails in and around town.

Now that we are finally starting to get some warmer weather, it is important to remember not to leave your bear spray in the car on a hot day as it may explode. If you must leave your bear spray in the car, store it in a bear spray safety travel container and out of direct sunlight.


An example of bear spray that exploded in a car on a hot day. It was messy!


There have been a few recent standoffs with elk close to town because people have been getting too close. 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.


Bear Closure - Nash meadow, East of Bighorn Lookout and South of Highway 546 due to a bear feeding on a carcass.

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

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 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.


WildSmart’s Education Programs are going to be exported to Northern Italy to help teach residents and visitors how to coexist safely with wildlife! Find out more at our next Speaker Series event: Coexisting with Wildlife in Northern Italy: Exporting wildlife crossing structures and educational programs from the Bow Valley to Trento, Italy. This presentation by Francesco Del Greco will start at 7pm on Wednesday, July 17th at artsPlace in Canmore. More details can be found here.

This is a free event, however donations towards the WildSmart program are always very much appreciated.

Special thanks go out to our event sponsors, Rotary Club of Canmore and Lafarge Canada for their generous support of our speaker series!

We look forward to seeing you there!



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