Being bear aware
British Columbia is lucky enough to have amazing varieties of wildlife in our forests. Some of them can be seen on one of the trails Rainforest Tours utilizes for their day hikes, The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Some of these breath-taking hikes lead to the most amazing campsites. While our group’s head back at the end of the day, we witness camping excursions by travelers and locals all the time. Are you heading out to the coast for a camping trip? Follow these simple bear aware guidelines to keep our parks and your group, safe from the unexpected.
- Before setting out, check with the appropriate authorities (Provincial Wildlife Officer, Park Warden, etc.) to see if there has been any bear activity along your route. Obey all trail closures and information signs. If there are bears in the area, consider choosing a different route.
- Always, always carry bear pepper spray or another deterrent – and know how to use it. Stay alert and watch for bears and bear signs. Tracks, trampled vegetation or scat are all signs that bears may be nearby. Be especially alert where bear foods are abundant.
- Make lots of noise. If a bear hears you coming, it will usually avoid you. Warn bears of your presence by talking calmly and loudly or singing, especially in dense bush where visibility may be limited or around rivers or streams where bears have trouble hearing you coming. Your voice will help identify you as human and non-threatening.
- Travel in a group during daylight hours. Especially in grizzly country. There is no record of a bear attacking a larger group of people.
- Keep your distance. Never approach bears. If a bear (or any animal) approaches, back away in order to maintain a safe distance. Use binoculars, spotting scopes and telephoto lenses to view and photograph wild animals up close.
- Secure all potential bear attractants. Never feed a bear, either intentionally or unintentionally, by being careless with your garbage or food scraps. Always store your food and garbage in a bear-proof container or hang it in a tree. Securing your campsite with a lightweight, portable electric fence is another effective alternative.
The Park Rangers along The Juan de Fuca Trail travel the trails on a regular basis. They are familiar with the bears in the area and post information as needed so guests can keep educated and plan accordingly.
All of these little tips are useful when camping or simply going out for a day hike. Applying these things can add to your outdoor experience and keep you and the group safe.