Bears spotted in regional parks
Aug 31, 2012 / 2:30 pm
It’s that time of year that visitors to Regional Parks should beef up their bear awareness.
With spawning salmon and ripening fruit across the Central Okanagan, evidence of bear activity is increasing as the bruins move down into the valley from the higher elevations in search of food.
The signs that bears are more frequent visitors are occurring in Mission Creek Regional Park, along the Mission Creek Greenway, in Mill Creek Regional Park and in Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park. They’re also known to frequent other more natural regional parks like Kalamoir, Glen Canyon, Rose Valley, Cedar Mountain, and Bertram Creek.
Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “This is the time of year that we start seeing more bears in some of our Regional Parks. As reports of bears increase, signs are posted advising all park users that the animals may be active in the area.”
“To reduce your chance of encountering a bear,” he says “you should travel in a group, make noise or carry something that makes noise. During the fall fish spawning season, it’s not unusual for park visitors to encounter bears along local creeks and rivers, because the Kokanee are a plentiful source of food. Please be aware that bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water. If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”
People should respect all bears and anticipate and avoid encounters with them whenever possible. Bears can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or their cubs. They also have excellent senses of smell and hearing, and better sight than you might believe. Dog owners are reminded when in Regional Parks that their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times. It’s not only the law, but will help avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounter.
Residents have a role to play on their property by keeping any garbage securely stored and wheeling their garbage cart out on the morning of their regular curbside collection. That will help reduce the potential temptation for bears or other wildlife.
British Columbia Conservation Foundation Bear Aware progra
Ministry of Environment Bear Smart program
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