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Grizzly and black bear warnings issued after bold behaviour in Banff National Park

Banff National Park has issued warnings for Bourgeau Lake Trail and nearby Harvey Pass, as well as at a campground near the townsite, after reports of grizzly and black bears in the area.

Warnings issued about bears along Bourgeau Lake Trail, Harvey Pass and Two Jack Main Campground

A black bear eats weeds at the side of a highway. Parks Canada has issued warnings for two black bears and a grizzly in Banff National Park. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

Banff National Park has issued warnings for Bourgeau Lake Trail and nearby Harvey Pass, as well as at a campground near the townsite, after reports of grizzly and black bears in the area.

Parks Canada says a number of bears have been seen around the area of the Bourgeau Lake Trail and Harvey Pass, including a grizzly that was exhibiting bold behaviour on Sunday.

"We had a group that encountered a large grizzly bear at the top of ... Harvey Pass. Two people encountered the bear and … they headed back down the trail," said Bill Hunt a resource conservation officer with Parks Canada.

"The bear followed along at a distance and actually stayed with them for about a kilometre as they gathered up other hikers."

He says the group of nine hikers eventually used a bear banger and the bear moved away. 

On Monday another group of hikers saw the grizzly at the bottom of the trail head.

Bourgeau Lake is the closest subalpine lake to the town of Banff, with a trailhead on the Trans-Canada Highway about 13 km west of the Mount Norquay Interchange.

Two black bears looking for food have been seen in the Two Jack main campground, which is on the Lake Minnewanka loop road about 12 kilometres from the Banff townsite.

"In one case the bear was on top of one of the bear-proof bins snooping around. So, whether he had access to garbage there before, or just the odours coming from the can had piqued his curiosity," Hunt said.

The second black bear was seen at the end of the weekend, sniffing around fire pits at empty campsites.

The warnings were issued late Monday night. Parks Canada advises people in the area to:

  • Never approach, entice or feed wildlife.
  • Ensure all food, garbage and pet food are stored inside a building or vehicle.
  • Supervise children and keep pets on leashes at all times
  • Always keep a safe distance from bears.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Parks asks anyone who sees a bear to report it to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470.

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