Mantario Trail reopens after unsuccessful effort to catch bear who bit hiker

A portion of the Mantario Trail that had been closed after a hiker was bitten by a bear last month has been reopened, the province says, although efforts to track down the bear were unsuccessful.

Bear could still be in the area, province warns

At least three human-black bear encounters were reported around Whiteshell Provincial Park this summer. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

A portion of the Mantario Trail that had been closed after a hiker was bitten by a bear last month has been reopened, the province says, although efforts to track down the bear were unsuccessful.

The northern section of the trail from the Big Whiteshell Trail Head to Mantario Lake was closed after the hiker was bitten on July 2.

On Friday, the province said in a news release it was reopened, but warned the bear could still be in the area.

"Manitoba Sustainable Development reminds campers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to be aware of the presence of wildlife and to be 'Bear Smart,'" the province wrote in the release.

Bear smart behaviours include never approaching or feeding bears, or any wild animals, the province said, and keeping dogs on leashes. Food and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant containers and hikers in wilderness areas should travel in groups, make noise and be alert — don't use earphones to listen to music, for example.

In general, when in bear country, people should assume bears are nearby, even if no recent encounters have been reported, the province said.

"Remember to carry bear deterrent spray and know how to use it," the release says.

2 other bear encounters in July

The north portion of the trail was closed after the attack so conservation officers could try to track the bear down to relocate it.

At the time, a spokesperson for Manitoba Sustainable Development said it's unusual for bears without cubs to be aggressive without being provoked.

Later in July, an eight-year-old girl had her face scratched by a black bear at a remote campsite in Whiteshell Provincial Park, which includes much of the Mantario Trail.

Elsewhere in the park, a family having lunch on shore near Caddy Lake had their spaghetti stolen by a bear that strolled up behind them on July 15.

The Friday news release included a full list of recommendations for how hikers should avoid conflict with bears:

  • Never approach or feed a bear (or any other wild animal).
  • Keep dogs on a leash to reduce the potential of them being attacked by a bear or leading a bear back to the owners.
  • Store attractants, such as food and garbage, so they are not accessible to bears, in a secure building or bear-resistant container.
  • When travelling in wilderness areas be alert, make noise, travel in groups, do not use earphones to listen to music and keep children close by.
  • Take down bird feeders between April and November.
  • Secure compost piles or compost food items indoors.
  • In the summer, remove all ripened or fallen fruit daily in the morning and before dusk and don't allow it to rot on the ground.
  • Allow barbecue grills to burn for a couple of minutes after cooking to burn off grease and to eliminate odours, and clean grills and grease cup after each use.
  • Clean up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck and don't allow food odours to linger.
  • Feed pets indoors and never leave food dishes outdoors.
  • Fully enclose backyard beehives and chicken coops and remember that electric fencing is an effective bear deterrent.