They’re out and about and drivers and hikers are reminded once again to please watch for wildlife when driving on mountain park roads or hiking the back-country trails. Wildlife face considerable risks while searching for food and mates in close proximity to places where humans can be a perceived danger to them.
Spring and summer are the best times of year to experience the mountain parks with campgrounds open and lots of hiking possibilities. At the same time, though, drivers coming through the national parks need to exercise extreme caution.
Watch for “No stopping” zone
To keep both animals, especially bears, and humans safe, Parks Canada annually enforces a temporary 11 km “No Stopping” zone along Highway 93 through the southern portion of Kootenay National Park. The restriction begins in May and continues until authorities deem the area safe. The area involved runs from the McKay Creek Operations Centre to Cobb Lake. In this area, stopping is restricted to trailhead parking areas.
Make sure you brush up on your bear awareness skills and knowledge before leaving home to come to the Columbia Valley. You can find out more about how to become more bear aware at http://wildsafebc.com
Parks Canada staff work hard to minimize collisions with bears and other wildlife but they can only do so much and they need the public’s help. Be extra vigilant, especially at dawn and dusk when animals are most active. Observe speed limits and watch for signs posted along highways. Doing so can minimize injury and loss of life for both wildlife and humans.
Just a reminder, because you know this already, it’s against the law to feed or harass wildlife. Feeding wildlife can lead to habituation, causing animals to lose their wariness of humans and increasing the risk of accidents. Every year, Parks Canada responds to several reports of visitors feeding wildlife in the mountain parks. One such incident even involved a wolf being approached and offered rice cakes in Kootenay National Park.
So let’s be extra vigilant in our watch for wildlife in the Columbia Valley. Let’s give wildlife the respect and the space they need.