Several recent bear sightings along Okanagan Rail Trail

Rail trail bear alert

Okanagan Rail Trail users are reminded to be bear aware after bear sightings in recent days.

"What beautiful creatures share the community with us human folk! Please be Bear Aware as you enjoy the Okanagan Rail Trail along the east side of Wood Lake between Winfield and Oyama," the District of Lake Country posted on its Facebook page. 

"The fish in Wood Lake and nearby creeks as well as ripening fruit in the orchards are an easily accessible food supply to keep these bears in good health as they bulk up now for the winter." 

"Lots of fruit available this time of year, but a stinky garbage can left out is (a) very inviting treat for these bears," Tod McKenzie commented on the post.

Spawning kokanee salmon are another attractant that bring bears down into the valley bottom. 

Trail users are advised travel in groups and make noise so any bears are aware of your presence.

"Bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the water. If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.

"Unless otherwise designated, dog owners are reminded their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times in order to avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounter.

"Residents also have a role to play by securely storing any garbage and only placing their garbage cart out on the morning of their regular curbside collection."

Meanwhile, resident Sarah Nitti posted that bears have been getting into garbage on Oyama Road, and Cheryl Mazey shared photos of tipped garbage bins where bears had a recent meal.

"Please remember to keep garbage inside until pickup day. A fed bear is a dead bear," she wrote.

If you plan on using the rail trail, be reminded that erosion control work has closed a section along Kalamalka Lake until mid-October.

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