Bear Report - July 5, 2019

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(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: June 28 to July 5, 2019


Multiple black bears have been seen along trails in and around Canmore, as well as throughout the south side of the valley from the Canmore Nordic Centre to the Three Sisters Area, in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets, and in residential areas on both sides of the valley.

There are bear warnings at the Canmore Nordic Centre and Grassi Lakes Trail, two very popular places to recreate near Canmore (see Warnings below). Remember that bears can be encountered anywhere, anytime, not just in areas with a warning or closure!

Alberta Parks staff report that at least 19 distinct grizzly bears have been observed over the past week in Kananaskis Country, 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.

We will be heading into berry season soon so 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. 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. 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 to avoid a situation like this.


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 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.


The Volunteer Wildlife Ambassadors and WildSmart had an amazing time walking in the Canada Day Parade! It was great to see such a huge turnout from our amazing community! After the parade, we set up our hands-on, interactive booth on Main Street and enjoyed talking to over 500 locals and visitors about wildlife ecology and safety. We also demonstrated how to properly use bear spray (using empty cans of inert training bear spray) and discussed ways to avoid and handle encounters with wildlife. Thanks to our amazing volunteers for their enthusiasm, dedication and ability to educate the people who live in, and visit, the Bow Valley!

Photo by Judy Cairns


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