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BEAR ACTIVITY SUMMARY FOR THE BOW VALLEY
(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: August 2 to August 9, 2019
Bears continue to be been seen moving through residential areas on both sides of the valley near Canmore in search of buffaloberries, and there have been several reports of bears in backyards.
Berry bushes and fruit trees are the main attractants drawing bears into backyards and a great proactive step that you can take is to remove these attractants from your yard. Berries and fruit attract bears and other wildlife into residential areas, putting wildlife and people at risk. We have pruning shears and extendable fruit pickers that can be borrowed free of charge to allow Bow Valley residents to remove fruit and berry bushes from their property. Fruit picking equipment can be picked up at the Biosphere Institute in Canmore.
During this busy summer season, there have been many bear and wildlife jams, which puts unnecessary stress on the animals. Motorists should obey posted speed limits and constantly scan for wildlife feeding or walking roadside. 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 to feed. 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.
Be prepared and on the lookout for bears while you recreate, as many berry bushes are found along popular trails, roads and near campgrounds. Bears will be very focused on eating berries, so it is especially important to remember to make lots of noise to alert them of your presence. When bears are surprised they can respond defensively as they may feel threatened so please remember to give wildlife lots of space! To reduce the risk of bear encounters:
Travel in tight groups.
Be aware of your surroundings and have good situational awareness (look and listen for wildlife and their signs, i.e. tracks and scat). Trail runners and bikers need to be extra loud when travelling quickly and in areas where sight-lines are limited. Avoid wearing earbuds, and slow down, especially around blind corners.
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, as is evident in this article.
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 using well-traveled trails, including the trails in and around town.
Bear scat can be an indication of bear activity in the area. During berry season bear scat looks a lot like strawberry jam! Keep an eye out for it on the trails and try to avoid areas with fresh scat.
There continues to be a Bear Warning on the south side of the valley near Canmore due to numerous bears feeding on berries in the area. This warning area includes Peaks of Grassi, Quarry Lake and the off-leash dog park, Rundle Forebay, Grassi Lakes, and extends through the Canmore Nordic Centre to the Banff National Park boundary. Remember that bears are not only found in areas with warnings and closures, they can be encountered anywhere, anytime in bear country.
CURRENT WARNINGS AND CLOSURES
Bear Warning - Barrier Lake Area. Highway 40 South of Widow Maker Day Use Area to Baldy Pass Parking lot on both sides of Hwy 40 due to a grizzly sow and cubs feeding on berries in the area.
Bear Closure - Bill Milne Bike Path and Wedge Pond Connector Trail due to multiple bears feeding in the area.
Bear Warning - Paddy's Flat Campground due to black bears grazing on Buffalo Berries throughout the campground.
Bear Warning - South side of the Bow River in Canmore, including Quarry Lake Day Use and dog park, Peaks of Grassi, Grassi Lakes, Canmore Nordic Centre and area trails due to numerous bears feeding on berries.
Cougar Warning - Willow Rock Campground and Flowing Water Trail due to numerous cougar sightings in the area.
Bear Closure - Rawson Lake Trail and Sarrail Ridge due to a grizzly bear and cub frequenting the area and bluff charging of a park user.
Bear Warning - Mt. Kidd RV Park Campground including campsites, trails and the permanent house trailer park due to a black bear frequenting the area.
Bear Closure - The area south of Mount Kidd RV Park F-Loop bordered by the Kananaskis River on the west and Hwy 40 on the east, plus the powerline in this region due to multiple bears feeding on berries in the area.
Bear Warning - Moose Loop in West Bragg Creek due to a black bear feeding on a carcass.
Bear Warning - Troll Falls, Hay Meadows, and Stoney Trail due to multiple bears 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 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.
AND NOW SOME PAWS-ITIVE NEWS
With so much negative wildlife related stories in the news, it is nice to highlight some paws-itive things too. Yesterday, we did some workshops with the Town of Canmore’s Big Fun Campers to teach them about wildlife safety, coexistence, and how difficult it can be for a bear trying to survive in the Bow Valley. To better educate residents and visitors, the children created some amazing posters with some important messages for the people in the valley in hopes of improving coexistence and reducing negative human-wildlife interactions! Thanks so much to the kids for their enthusiasm and please enjoy some samples of their work:
Please remember BEARS CAN BE ENCOUNTERED ANYWHERE, ANYTIME!
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