Calgary

Bear closures expand near Canmore

Alberta Parks has closed a well known area near Canmore after a bumper berry crop has made human-bear interactions more common this year, including two recent attacks.

Several closures now in place for Kananaskis area

Alberta Parks has shut down a large area near Canmore popular with hikers and cyclists. (Supplied)

Alberta Parks has closed a well known area near Canmore after a bumper berry crop has made human-bear interactions more common this year, including two recent attacks.

"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 Wednesday.

"The Quarry Lake day use area and dog off leash dog areas remain open."

Provincial Park ecologist John Paczkowski says berries bring bears, in an interview with CBC News on Friday.

"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."

A black bear eats weeds at the side of a highway. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

The Canmore area restrictions come on the heels of closures in the Evan-Thomas provincial recreation area earlier this week:

  • The area south of Mount Kidd, bordered on the west side by the Kananaskis River and Highway 40 on the east side. The Mount Kidd RV park is not affected by the closure.
  • The Bill Milne paved trail, which is popular with cyclists.

A bear warning has been in effect for the Ribbon Creek day use area and hostel since July 20.

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