Bear sightings lead to temporary closure of some Maple Ridge trails

Conservation officer said there are a couple yearling bears in the Kanaka Creek Regional Park area

It will come as little surprise to most Maple Ridge residents that they share the land they live on with a healthy bear population.

A pair of sightings towards the end of last week in Kanaka Creek Regional Park lead local conservation officers to recommend the trails near Rainbow Bridge be closed for a few days.

Nicole Caithness, a conservation officer for the Fraser North Zone, said there are a couple different yearling or sub-adult bears dispersing in the area.

“It’s very common this time of year. Their mom is trying to kick them out, so they have to fend for themselves, and so they’ve been travelling a lot trying to find their own home range.

She said there were instances on Thursday (June 4) and Saturday (June 6) where hikers reported having encounters with these yearlings, in which the bears were walking down the same trails as people.

“There was no aggression, and there wasn’t any predatory behaviour or anything of concern,” Caithness clarified. “So we just recommended that Metro Vancouver Parks do a short term closure of the trails, just to give the yearlings some space to disperse and try and avoid that conflict.”

READ MORE: Spike of bear calls to Conservation Officer Service prompts calls for prevention

The trails re-opened on Wednesday morning but Caithness said, this time of year, it is always important for hikers to have their wits about them.

“We’re trying to make sure the public’s aware that there’s always going to be bears in Kanaka,” she said. “It’s excellent habitat for them, so the public should always be mindful when they’re out walking with their dogs in that park.

It is imperative that dogs be leashed in the forested areas in Maple Ridge, she noted.

“It’s not just for the bears,” the officer said. “There are cougars, there are coyotes, there’s all sorts of wildlife in that park, and off-leash dogs can trigger negative encounters with pretty much any wild animal, so it’s super important that people keep their dogs on a leash at all times.”

While young bears are not looking to come into conflict with humans, Caithness says any wild animal can be unpredictable.

“People just need to keep their heads about them,” she said. “If they see a bear, speak to it in a calm tone, like, ‘Hey bear, whoa bear,’ and just move out of the area slowly.

“Just give the bear plenty of space to move along on it’s way and that should help avoid most encounters,” she said. “And if the bear is being a little pushy or seeming to approach people, we definitely recommend people carry bear spray when they’re out walking and know how to use it as well.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

bearsHikingmaple ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Conflicts growing between traffic and equestrians in Maple Ridge

She and her mount were clipped by a car in 1970s, leaving this rider fearful walking on 132nd Avenue

SHARE: Sunset seen from Jerry Sulina Park beautiful always moving for Maple Ridge walker

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

ON COOKING: Creating flavour when cooking meat

Chef Dez shares some ideas for preparing with marinades

LETTER: Flush toilets have been part of Maple Ridge Park for years

Reaction to newbie’s first visit to a city park and moreover her criticism of its facilities

VIDEO: One wounded in Maple Ridge gun battle

Two vehicles reportedly traded shots while driving down street

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Wildfire breaks out near Harrison Hot Springs

1.5 hectare fire is reportedly human caused

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

Most Read