Grizzly Bear in Central Okanagan. (Contributed)

Beware of bears in Central Okanagan parks

Bear sightings increase during September

Bears are one of the many dangerous animals to call British Columbia home, but as the summer season starts to turn and the bears begin to prepare for winter hibernation, sightings in the Okanagan increase.

Spawning kokanee salmon, ripening fruit and vineyards are a few seasonal attractants that bring bears down into the valley. That’s also why you can expect to see more bears traversing through Central Okanagan Regional Parks, especially those connected to higher elevations.

“This is the time of year that bears make their presence known and our field staff and visitors start seeing more signs that bears are around,” said Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) communications officer Bruce Smith.

As sightings and evidence of the presence of bears increase, the RDCO posts signs in several of its parks advising that bears may be active in the area.

“If possible, travel in a group and make some noise so any bears are aware of your presence,” advised Smith.

”As the fall Kokanee salmon spawning season ramps up visitors may encounter bears bulking up on this food source in local creeks and streams.”

He said those bears may not hear passersby over the noise of the creek water, adding that “If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”

The City of Kelowna is also advising parkgoers to stay bear aware. While there have been no reports of bear sightings at this time, bear scat has been found in the area recently.

READ MORE: Kelowna busker lives off poems he writes on-demand

The RDCO encourages people to avoid encounters with bears whenever possible as they can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or cubs. Bears also have excellent senses of smell and hearing and better sight than you may believe. Unless otherwise designated, dog owners are reminded their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times in order to avoid any potential serious wildlife encounter.

Residents also have a role to play by securely storing any garbage and only placing their garbage cart out on the morning of their regular curbside collection. That helps to reduce the potential temptation for bears or other wildlife.

All regional parks remain open for visitors using safe distancing practices. Visit for more information.

READ MORE: Remote learning option poses potential risk for Central Okanagan students

Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at
Follow me on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Council approves new Kelowna General Hospital parking lot

The lot is intended for use by KGH staff to address growing parking need in the area

Motorcycle rider identified following fatal crash in Peachland

Michael Odenbach died in a motorcycle collision on Sept. 27

Work continues to develop emergency shelter plan for Kelowna

City hoping to build ‘over-arching, community-driven vision for the future of emergency shelters in our community’

Known Kelowna Hells Angels associate to face trial in October

Colin Michael Bayley is set to stand trial next month for an alleged aggravated assault

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

Shuswap BC SPCA launches spay/neuter program for low-income residents

Program available to low-income residents in the region

More victims possible in Okanagan assault case

Vernon police have a man in custody but feel there could be more victims in the case

Most Read