Grizzly bears are still roaming the mountain parks thanks to a warmer than usual winter and an expert says carrying bear spray is a must. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)
A bear expert is reminding outdoor enthusiasts that they could still run into bears in Alberta’s mountain parks.
Parks officials have closed trails around Tunnel Mountain, just outside of Banff, due to a grizzly feeding on a carcass.
A warmer start to winter means some bears are still feeding, says bear biologist Sarah Elmeligi.
“If the winter has been mild and there’s food around to eat, bears will still be awake and active, especially the male bears.”
Hiker Angela Hunt took a lone hike around Lake Minnewanka earlier this week and says bears weren’t on her mind and neither was bear spray.
“It’s more of a summer thing,” Hunt said. “They’re hibernating probably.”
Carry bear spray in winter too
Elmeligi says people should be packing bear spray year round.
“Even in the dead of winter people have run into bears by accidentally skiing over a bear den or something like that. You could encounter a bear anytime, anywhere so you should always be prepared for that,” she said.
“Bear spray is also effective against other things like cougars and you can run into a cougar at any time.”
People should also check trail conditions for any bear closures online before making plans, she said.
Article Source: CBC News Calgary