British Columbia

Whistler trails shut down to let grizzly bears prepare for hibernation

The municipality says bears are feeding in order to prepare for their winter hibernation, and human disruptions during this time can lead to aggressive encounters.

Closures set to be in effect until Sept. 11

There are approximately 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia, about a quarter of the North American population. (Jakub Moravec/Shutterstock)

A number of trails around Whistler, B.C., are being shut down to allow grizzly bears in the area uninterrupted time to make their winter hibernation preparations. 

The Resort Municipality of Whistler and the B.C. Conservation Officer Service decided to shut down the trails due to increased grizzly activity. The trails are slated to re-open on Saturday, Sept. 11, although more trail closures are possible.

The trail closures are in the Mount Sproatt and Rainbow Lake trail network and include the following: 

  • Rainbow Lake Hiking Trail (above Flank Trail)
  • Hanging Lake camping area
  • Into the Mystic (above Less Trail)
  • On the Rocks
  • With A Twist
  • Pot of Gold
  • Ninja Loop Upper
  • Lord of the Squirrels
  • Happy Hour
  • Last Call
  • Rush Hour

The bears typically forage in the alpine areas where these trails are located, especially in late summer and early fall as they prepare for their winter hibernation.

During this time, interactions with humans can be very distracting and can cause aggressive reactions. 

There are around 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia, which equates to around a quarter of the North American population. The bears around Whistler are part of the vulnerable Squamish-Lillooet population unit and are currently being managed for recovery by the province.

The trail closures are part of the recommendations detailed in Whistler's Human-Grizzly Bear Conflict Mitigation Strategy, which aims to decrease bear-human interaction and ensure continued grizzly recovery.

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