Warnings still in effect as bears remain near Banff
Delayed summer means bears have stayed near valley bottoms to feed
If you are heading to Banff, you have a good chance of seeing a bear right now.
Steve Michel, a spokesman for Parks Canada, said the delayed arrival of summer has meant the bears have remained on the valley floors, close to food sources and to people.
"All the same areas that people like to enjoy around the town of Banff, all the popular campgrounds, the picnic sites, they are all being frequented by bears," he said.
There are bear warnings in effect for many trails and recreational areas, including the Tunnel Mountain and Two Jack Lake campgrounds.
However, Michel said there has not been an increase in problems between bears and humans and he is hopeful the bears will begin moving to higher elevations in the next few days.
"We've had some fantastic summer weather here so things have really melted out up high," he said.
Michel said that means the vegetation that bears feed on is starting to appear in the alpine areas they normally frequent during the summer months.
Parks Canada's web site has information on the latest bear sightings. Hikers are reminded to carry bear spray and to travel in large groups.