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!
BEAR ACTIVITY SUMMARY FOR THE BOW VALLEY
(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: August 16 to August 23, 2019
Bears continue to be seen throughout the Bow Valley (on both sides of the valley), in and around Canmore, in residential areas and in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets. At this time of year, bears continue to search for buffaloberries and they have recently been seen along popular walking trails such as the engine bridge and along the river. People really need to be aware of and prepared for encounters with wildlife by carrying bear spray, even along the well-traveled trails near town. Remember to carry bear spray in an easily accessible location, know how to use it and be prepared to use it! Close encounters with bears can happen in seconds so you need to be ready. Bear spray has also been shown to be effective at deterring other wildlife such as cougars, wolves, coyotes and elk.
There have been several reports of bears in yards, and berry bushes and fruit trees are the main attractants drawing bears into backyards at this time of year. You can help decrease human-wildlife conflict by removing berry bushes and other fruit-bearing plants such as crabapple trees from your yard. These attractants bring wildlife and humans close together, creating a concern for public and wildlife safety. The best practice is to remove fruit bearing trees and shrubs from your yard, however if you decide to keep your fruit bearing trees and shrubs, please ensure the fruit is removed. This will help keep bears and other wildlife out of residential areas. You can learn more in this article.
If you are renting or live in a condo complex, please contact your landlord or condo board/association and notify them if there are trees with fruits and berries on the property so they can arrange to either remove the trees or ensure the fruit is removed. If you can’t reach that fruit up in the tree, no problem! We have pruning shears and extendable fruit pickers that can be borrowed free of charge to allow residents to remove fruit and berry bushes from their property. Please drop by WildSmart at the Biosphere Institute in Canmore to pick up the fruit picking equipment.
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 make lots of noise in order to alert them to your presence. When bears are surprised they can respond defensively as they may feel threatened. With this in mind, please remember to GIVE WILDLIFE LOTS OF SPACE! If you must take pictures, take them from a distance and do not harass wildlife. 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.
The Bear Warning on the south side of the valley near Canmore remains in place 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 and can be encountered anywhere, anytime in bear country.
CURRENT WARNINGS AND CLOSURES
Bear Warning - Spray Lakes West Campground & Old Goat Glacier Trail due to multiple black bears feeding in the area, including a sow with two young of the year cubs.
Bear Warning - Upper Kananaskis Lake Circuit, including the junction to Aster Lake to the top of the headwall 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.
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
For those of you who are thinking about removing your fruit bearing trees and replacing them with a non-fruit bearing tree, the Princess Kay Plum (shown below) is a fantastic option! They look great and are strictly ornamental, they do not produce fruit and they have a brilliant fall colour! Please click here for more information and to view our list of recommended plant species for landscaping in the Bow Valley.
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