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Bear Safety

Before you go

  • Pack bear spray, and learn how to use it

  • Check the park web page for any specific information about bears in the area

  • Look for notices about bears in the area when you arrive at a campground or trailhead

When on a trail

Bear scat

  • Make noise. Don’t surprise a bear. Call, sing, clap or talk loudly especially near streams and in areas of low visibility.

  • Be alert. Watch for bears or their scat and tracks, any strange smells or disturbed vegetation. Be aware of wind direction and speed. Extra caution is warranted when the wind is facing you.

  • Stay together. Hike and bike in groups and don’t let children wander. Larger groups (4 or more) are less likely to have a negative bear encounter.

  • Watch your pets. Keep your dog on a leash at all times. Dogs can provoke defensive bear behaviour.

  • Use officially marked trails. Travel during daylight hours. Bears are most active at dawn and dusk.

  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

  • If you encounter a bear:

Stay calm If the bear sees you, talk in a low, calm voice and then regardless if it has seen you or not.

Back up slowly Never turn your back on a bear, or run. Running could trigger an attack.

Do not stare The bear will see a direct stare as a challenge.

Give it space Make sure it has a way to get away, and that you are not blocking access to a bear’s cubs or its food.

If a bear approaches you or charges:

Do not run!

Use your bear spray as it approaches

  • Make sure you know how to use bear spray

Play dead or fight back

  • Defensive attack Usually, bears charge or attack because they are feeling threatened. Use your bear spray. If you don’t have bear spray and the bear makes contact with you – roll on your stomach, cover the back of your neck, remain still and play dead, they will lose interest and leave. Do NOT run!

  • Predatory attack In rare cases, a bear may see a human as prey and stalk you along a trail. In these cases, try to escape into a building, car or up a tree. If you cannot escape and the bear charges, use your bear spray, lacking that, use anything at your disposal to fight off the bear (rocks, sticks, hiking poles).

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