Regional parks are home to beautiful trees, creeks—and perhaps most importantly—bears.
And the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) is reminding park-goers that it is not unusual to encounter the latter on a stroll through the park.
Ripening fruit in valley orchards and Kokanee salmon soon swimming up creeks to spawn, causes more bears to be drawn to regional parks, especially at higher elevations.
“This time of year, our field staff and visitors start seeing more signs that bears are around. As sightings increase, we post signs advising that the animals may be active in the area” said RDCO communications officer Bruce Smith.
“To reduce your chance of an encounter, if possible, travel in a group, make noise or carry something that makes noise so that you make your presence known. During the fall Kokanee salmon spawning season in local creeks and rivers visitors may encounter bears bulking up on this food source. Bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water. If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”
Bear encounters should be anticipated and avoided in regional parks, according to the RDCO. Bears can be aggressive and have excellent senses of smell, hearing, and sight.
The RDCO also reminds dog owners to comply with the law and keep their pets on a leash and on trails at all times to help to avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounters.
Residents in the area are also asked to keep their garbage securely stored, only rolling out their garbage cart for morning collections. This reduces the potential temptation for bears to enter any residential areas.