Bear suspected to have raided Chilkoot Trail cook shelter shot and killed

Parks Canada staff have shot and killed a black bear believed to be the bear that broke into a cooking shelter on the Chilkoot Trail, resulting in the closure of the Canadian side of the park.

Bear broke into a camp and raided refrigerator; trail closed on Canadian side until identity confirmed

Hikers leave Happy Camp on the Canadian side of the Chilkoot trail in B.C. The Canadian side has been closed after a bear broke into a camp in the area. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Parks Canada staff have shot and killed a black bear believed to be the bear that broke into a cooking shelter on the Chilkoot Trail.

In a news release, Parks Canada said "this unfortunate action was required due to the serious visitor safety risk posed by the bear."

A necropsy, including an examination of the bear's stomach contents, will be done Thursday to assess its health and confirm its identity as the bear that broke into the cooking shelter.

Parks Canada says two snare sites were used and bear experts recommend the sites be cleaned and closed for three days to allow scent to dissipate and not attract other bears.

The Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site runs 53 kilometres from the trailhead near Skagway, Alaska, to Bennett Lake in B.C.  

The cooking shelter incident took place at a camp near Lindeman Lake on Monday afternoon. Parks Canada staff found that a bear had broken into the staff cook shelter through a window and got access to a "significant quantity of human processed food."

The animal, believed to be a black bear, was seen back in the area later that night.

The trail was closed between Bennett and the Chilkoot Pass, and will remain closed until the bear's identity is confirmed and the area no longer poses a risk to visitors or staff. 

Jeni Rudisill, the Parks Canada superintendent for the Chilkoot Trail, said at least a dozen hikers were evacuated from the trail between Bennett and the U.S. border summit Tuesday by boat and helicopter.

"We've swept the trail and moved all hikers on the Canadian side off the trail," she said.

Rudisill says the trail remains open on the American side but until the Canadian side is deemed safe, hikers will be forced to turn back at the Canadian border.

Parks Canada says hikers walking the trail from Bennett will be able to camp there until the trail is reopened. It said it anticipates the entire Canadian side of the trail will reopen by Sunday, June 26.

The trail is closed between the Chilkoot Pass and Bennett. (Parks Canada)