A section of the trail around the spawning channel in Mission Creek Regional Park has been temporarily closed.
Bears have returned to this area of the channel from the Interpretive Fish kiosk and bridge—adjacent to the Kokanee bridge near the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan—to the bridge crossing the channel approximately half a kilometer upstream.
The Loop Trail along the east side of the spawning channel is closed until further notice due to the presence of the bears.
For their safety, park visitors are asked to stay out of signed closed area or they may be ticketed.
During this temporary closure, Kokanee interpretive programs will be moved to other locations for the safety of park visitors and so as not to interfere with the bears.
“This is not unusual at this time of year to see a return of bears to many of our regional parks, since they are natural corridors to the higher elevation habitat,” said Bruce Smith, spokesman for the Central Okanagan Regional District.
“And with Kokanee returning to area creeks and fruit crops ripening in valley orchards, both plentiful sources of food, bear sightings always increase.
“When we start getting sightings and staff sees evidence of bears in our parks and along trails, we post signs advising all park users of recent bear activity.”
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.
“Be aware that bears fishing for food in area creeks may not hear you over the noise of the rushing water. If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it,” he said.
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 leashed and kept on trails at all times.
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.