Bear sightings west of Calgary have official urging caution
Drier conditions drive bears to open areas where food grows and people are likely to be
An education coordinator with a Canmore-based conservation group says the bears are out in Kananaskis Country and caution is needed.
Tyler McClure of WildSmart says wildlife sightings are coming in regularly.
"We have been seeing grizzly bears and black bears out on a number of trails around Canmore and in Kananaskis Country," McClure said.
"One of the areas where we are seeing a lot of activity right now is right near the east park gate of Banff National Park near the Legacy Trail."
While the numbers are not significantly higher than in previous years, now is the time to be vigilant, McClure said.
"So far this year along the Legacy Trail people have encountered bears, wolves, and then some smaller critters as well. We just want to make sure that people are prepared for these encounters so that they end safely for people and wildlife."
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Canmore resident Brodie McLaughlin says he keeps his eyes and ears open.
"Being cognizant and aware of where the bears are going to be, keeping up to date on reports," is the way to go, McLaughlin said.
"Normally I carry bear spray. Coming around corners, maybe take it a bit slower. Just be more aware of your surroundings, not putting your head down."
McClure says there are steps that can reduce encounters.
If you see a bear in the distance, go in the opposite direction.
"Making noise helps us to avoid animals, especially at the tops of hills or near blind corners," he added.
"If we find ourselves in close proximity, stop, gather your group and back away slowly as best you can."
McClure is also urging park users to carry, and know how to use, bear spray.
With files from Andrew Brown