Bear Safety at Bowron Lake Provincial Park
may be encountered throughout the park during the summer months.
Although most bears are simply traveling through and make every
effort to avoid humans, a bag of garbage or some unattended food
on a picnic table may be irresistible to their keen sense of
smell. Bears that scavenge food begin to associate food with
humans, and become "food-conditioned". Food-conditioned
bears lose their natural fear of humans and become a threat to
park visitors as they roam through the park in search of an easy
meal. Bears are not tame, gentle or cuddly; they are unpredictable
and potentially dangerous.
There is little
or no chance of correcting a food-conditioned bear and Park Rangers
are forced to destroy them when they become aggressive towards humans.
Don't be a contributor to food conditioning and remember...
FED BEAR IS A DEAD BEAR
There are some
simple precautions you must take to prevent the food conditioning
of bears and avoid dangerous bear encounters.
feed or approach bears or other wildlife.
or eliminate odours that attract bears
smelling foods and perfumed toiletries.
- Food Storage
the campground, store food in air-tight containers in your RV
or car trunk. Since this is not an option while out on the Canoe
Circuit, BC Parks provides bear-proof caches
at all Bowrons backcountry campsites and portage trailheads.
Caches are large metal boxes with recessed handles.
caches must be used at all times
(when you are not actively paddling to a new site or cooking).
This regulation will be strongly enforced by the park staff. Leave
room for other visitors' food in the cache.
out all your garbage. Store it with your food out of reach
of bears. Do not bury garbage or throw into pit toilets. Only
paper and wood may be burned: plastics, tinfoil, and food items
do not burn completely, and the remains will attract bears (besides
creating an unsightly mess).
-- they are a strong attractant for bears. Dont clean fish
in your campsite. Throw entrails into deep or fast-flowing water,
and double-bag fishy-smelling garbage.
and eat well away from your tent.
up immediately and thoroughly. Never leave cooking utensils,
coolers, grease or dish water lying around. Dispose of dish
water by straining it then throwing it into a gray water pit
or pit toilet. Solids should be packed out with the garbage.
- The odours
of cosmetics, toothpaste and insect repellent can attract
bears. These should be stored out of reach with your
food and garbage, never in your tent. Leave strongly perfumed
items at home.
keep children nearby and in sight.
sleep in a tent -- not under the stars.
the portages and trails as a group.
hiking is not advised -- you reduce the risk of an attack
by traveling together as a group. Do not let children wander.
pets at home.
pets can anger a bear and provoke an attack, so they are not
allowed on the Canoe Circuit. Keep pets leashed in the main
the chance of surprising a bear.
check ahead for bears in the distance. If one is spotted,
make a wide detour and leave the area immediately.
- Do not
approach bears on shore for a better view while paddling.
travelling against the wind or near loud moving water, use
extreme caution. Make loud warning sounds.
for bear sign: tracks, droppings, overturned rocks, rotten
trees torn apart, clawed, bitten or rubbed trees, bear trails,
fresh diggings or trampled vegetation.
clear of dead wildlife.
note of signs that may indicate carrion -- such as circling
crows or ravens, or the smell of rotting meat.
attract bears. Leave the area immediately!
the location of dead wildlife to Park staff.
- Camp in
- Bear caches
are provided at all designated sites.
- In general:
- Never approach or feed bears
- If you have an encounter with a bear, please leave the area immediately
and report it to park staff as soon as possible.
- Obey all park regulations, stay on designated trails and comply
with posted warnings.
- Bear pepper sprays have been effective in deterring some bear
attacks. However, do not use them as a substitute for safe
practices in bear country. Know how to use them. Avoidance
is still your best bet.
wildlife may pose a threat to park users. Moose can
become very agitated and aggressive when approached too closely,
particularly cows with calves. Please use binoculars and telephoto
lenses for wildlife viewing.
Some Bear Facts:
- Bears are as fast as racehorses, on the flats, uphill or downhill
- Bears are strong swimmers.
- Bears have good eyesight, good hearing, and an acute sense
- All black bears and young grizzlies are agile tree climbers;
mature grizzlies are poor climbers, but they have a reach up
to 4 metres.
- If a bear is standing up it is usually trying to identify you.
Talk softly so it knows what you are. Move away, keeping it in
view. Do not make direct eye contact.
Identifying bears is important if you are ever approached by one.
Black Bear (Ursus americanus Pallas)
Colour: Varies. Black, brown, cinnamon or blond,
often with a white patch on the chest or at the throat.
Height: Approximately 90 cm at the shoulder.
Weight: 57 kg to more than 270 kg. Females are usually
smaller than males.
Characteristics: Straight face profile; short,
curved claws; barely noticeable shoulder hump
Habitat: Prefers forested areas with low-growing
plants and berry-producing shrubs (e.g. small forest openings,
stream or lake edges, open forest).
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis Ord)
Colour: Varies. Black (rare), brown or blond. Fur often white-tipped
or "grizzled". Light-coloured
patches may occur around neck, shoulders and on rear flanks.
Height: Slightly above one metre at shoulder; 1.8
to 2.0 metres when erect.
Weight: 200 kg to more than 450 kg. Females are usually smaller
Characteristics: Dished or concave face long; curved claws;
prominent shoulder hump
Habitat: Semi-open spaces preferred. High country in late summer
and early fall; valley bottoms late fall and spring.