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Kelowna-area parks open after bear sightings
The Sutherland Hills section of Mission Creek Regional Park and the main trail in Hardy Falls Regional Park are open again.
The approximately 50-hectare section of Mission Creek Regional Park was closed Sept. 18 after two separate visitor-bear encounters while the Hardy Falls trail was closed due to bear activity on Sept. 12.
“The animals that forced us to temporarily close the trails appear to have moved on," CORD communications officer Bruce Smith said. "However, people visiting Mission Creek Regional Park and Hardy Falls Regional Park should continue to be vigilant and be prepared for possible encounters with bears and other wildlife. We’ve posted signs in areas where bears have been active. Evidence of bears continues to be found in many regional parks including Phase 2 of the Mission Creek Greenway through Scenic Canyon Regional Park, Bertram Creek Regional Park and Rose Valley Regional Park.”
To reduce your chance of encountering a bear while hiking, it’s recommended that you travel in a group, make noise or carry something that makes noise to alert any wildlife in advance to your presence.
“If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it," said Smith.
he added people should respect all bears and anticipate and avoid encounters with them whenever possible. Bears can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or their cubs. Bears also have excellent senses of smell and hearing, and better sight than you might believe.
For their safety, dog owners are reminded when in regional parks that their pets must be kept on a leash and kept on trails at all times.
Provincial conservation officers are advised of the bear sightings and along with regional parks staff, monitor the situation in local parks.
As well, residents are reminded to keep any garbage securely stored on their property and please don’t put out your garbage cart until the morning of your regular curbside collection. That way you’re not tempting bears or other wildlife, said Smith.