Hungry bears, lots of food means Kootenay National Park's no-stopping zone in effect

Motorists will just have to keep motoring through an area of Highway 93 to reduce chances of conflict with wildlife.

Affected area is several kilometres east of Radium Hot Springs

Officials say stopping increases animal interactions with humans and vehicles, and creates traffic hazards. (Brian Spreadbury/Parks Canada)

A section of Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park has been temporarily designated a no-stopping zone by Parks Canada to reduce chances of conflict between wildlife and motorists.

"The early season green-up and dandelions along this 11-kilometre stretch of Highway 93 near Olive Lake sees a high concentration of bear activity as they emerge from hibernation," spokesperson Tania Peters said in a release Monday.

"Safety is a top priority for Parks Canada and this temporary no-stopping zone and small area closures are in place to keep bears, motorists, visitors and staff safe and allow wildlife like black bears and grizzly bears to feed undisturbed."

The no-stopping zone began in 2014 after a grizzly bear and her cubs caused traffic chaos as motorists stopped to look at them. (Parks Canada)

The zone, several kilometres east of Radium Hot Springs, starts at the McKay Operations Centre and ends at the Cobb Lake Trailhead. There are also area closures at the Olive Lake day use site and the southbound brake check, where there's no stopping except for commercial vehicles.

Officials say stopping increases animal interactions with humans and vehicles, and creates traffic hazards.

The zone was first put in place in 2014 after a grizzly and her cubs foraging near Olive Lake caused traffic chaos as people stopped to look at the animals.

Kootenay National Park has established a no-stopping zone on Highway 93 in 2014 to protect these bears foraging near the road. (Jason Leo Bantle)