Multiple grizzly bears frequenting a hiking trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park have prompted a closure notice.
The notice was issued on Sunday, September 17 and is impacting Rockwall Trail, which is adjacent to the Peter Lougheed Discover Centre and Meadow Area. The closure will be in effect until further notice.
"Although an advisory is in place for this area, bears can be encountered anywhere in the Kananaskis Region at any time," Alberta Parks stated on its website.
Parks officials are reminding hikers that in order to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear, one should always:
- Make plenty of noise and travel in groups.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Look and listen for bears and their signs.
- Keep your pet on a leash.
- Carry bear spray. Make sure it’s easily accessible, and know how to use bear spray.
Bear sightings should be reported immediately to 403-591-7755.
The trail closure comes several days after hikers in Banff National Park had a rather scary encounter with two grizzly bears. The bears followed more than a dozen hikers for a good 20 minutes down a hiking trail.
Banff National Park officials are also continuing to remind hikers and visitors to be mindful of their surroundings.
Remember to stay bear aware this fall. Always carry bear spray and know how to use it, make noise on the trails, and watch out for fresh bear signs.— Banff National Park, Parks Canada (@BanffNP) September 13, 2023
Please report all wildlife observations promptly to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470. pic.twitter.com/eRnwlLGvY3
⚠️ Attention! As summer ends, it’s important to remember this is a critical time for bears! Bears are highly focused on feeding right now, as they prepare for the winter.— Banff National Park, Parks Canada (@BanffNP) September 5, 2023
Please respect their space and needs. Please report all bear sightings to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470. pic.twitter.com/OOjnvU2Fh5
Berry season which lasts until mid-October in park areas, means that bear encounters are much more likely.
"Berry bushes border trails, roads and campgrounds. Black and grizzly bears are feeding on berries right now. It is easy to surprise a bear that is focused on feeding," Parks Canada stated.
Other helpful tips to stay safe are to remember that trail running and cycling place you at much higher risk.
"Travel very slowly. Do not wear earbuds. Remember to watch for fresh bear signs such as scat. Be especially careful near berry patches. And if you see a bear, stay calm, back away slowly and leave the area. Never run."