Hikers beware! There are several bear warnings on Alberta trails in the Canmore area, including closures at the Highline and Riders of Rohan trails. Several black bears have been seen around the area, feeding on berries.
"A bear closure is in place including the area and trails south and west of the Canmore Nordic Centre, including Grassi Lakes trails and climbing area, and areas near Quarry Lake," the department said in an advisory on Wednesday.
John Packowski, provincial park ecologist, told CBC News that berriers can attract bears to trails and this year there have been a large number of berries growing near trails.
"Right now we are seeing an unprecedented number of berries near trails because that is where they grow best so if you are going to go biking, maybe consider taking the road bike out, leave the mountain bike at home for the next couple of weeks," Paczkowski said.
"If you must go out, have a bear spray in hand and know how to use it. It can be lifesaving. It has been proven hundreds and hundreds of times".
To avoid a bear attack, it’s a great idea to keep bear spray with you in an easy to reach spot like a water bottle pocket on the outside of a backpack. Make a lot of noise while you travel and go in a group rather than hiking alone.
The best time to travel would be during midday, and use extreme caution while traveling at night. Also look out for bear signs and warnings in the area, such as footprint trails.
There have already been two recent bear attacks and Alberta Parks is asking people to use caution while hiking and to report all sightings by calling 403-591-7755.
Here are the trails to avoid for this weekend:
- Douglas Fir Bench
- Grassi Lakes Interpretive
- Grassi Lakes Upper
- Ha Ling
- Riders of Rohan
For more details and advisories, visit Alberta Parks website.