Bear Aware Tips

The wildlife that you encounter here at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, can leave an indelible impression on your vacation. We share this environment with many animals that call Fairmont Hot Springs home. Large or small, every animal deserves our respect. Sharing this space with the local wildlife means that encounters with the large animals indigenous to the area are not uncommon.

British Columbia is home to 25% of Canada’s Black Bear population and 50% of Canada’s Grizzly Bear population. Although you may not see bears at Fairmont Hot Springs on a daily basis, they are here and we are constantly working to create a safe environment for our guests and the local bear population. Being Bear Aware, means following a set of best practices that will limit the potential danger that is inherent when sharing the environment with bears.

Being Bear Aware starts with knowledge.

 About bears:

•Bears can run as fast as horses, uphill or downhill.

•Bears can climb trees, although black bears are better tree-climbers than grizzly bears.

•Bears have excellent senses of smell and hearing, and better sight than many people believe.

•Bears are strong. They can tear cars apart looking for food.

‚Ä¢Every bear defends a “personal space”. The extent of this space will vary with each bear and each situation; it may be a few metres or a few hundred meters. Intrusion into this space is considered a threat and may provoke an attack.

•Bears aggressively defend their food.

‚Ä¢All female bears defend their cubs. If a female with cubs is surprised at close range or is separated from her cubs, she may attack. An aggressive response is the mother grizzly’s natural defense against danger to her young.

‚Ä¢A female black bear’s natural defense is to chase her cubs up a tree and defend them from the base. However, she is still dangerous and may become aggressive if provoked.

Bear safety essentials:

•Respect all bears Рthey all can be dangerous.

•Never approach a bear.

•Never attempt to feed a bear.

•Be defensive Рnever surprise a bear.

•Learn about bears. Anticipate and avoid encounters.

•Know what to do if you encounter a bear.

•Each bear encounter is unique. No hard and fast rules can be applied when dealing with a potentially complex situation.


When in Bear Country:

•Avoid conflict by practicing prevention.

•Be alert.

•Look for signs of recent bear activity. These include droppings, tracks, evidence of digging, and claw or bite marks on trees.

‚Ä¢Make your presence known by talking loudly, clapping, singing, or occasionally calling out. Some people prefer to wear bells. Whatever you do, be heard! It doesn’t pay to surprise a bear.

•Keep children close at hand and within sight.

•Photographing bears can be dangerous. Use a long-range telephoto lens.

•There is no guaranteed minimum safe distance from a bear Рthe further, the better.

•Stay away from dead animals. Bears may attack to defend such food.

•It is best not to hike with dogs, as dogs can antagonize bears and cause an attack. An unleashed dog may bring a bear back to you.

•Never leave pets unattended.

Your food and garbage:

•Odours attract bears. Reduce or eliminate odours from yourself, your camp, your clothes, and your vehicle.

‚Ä¢Don’t sleep in the same clothes you cook in.

‚Ä¢Store food so that bears cannot smell or reach it. Don’t keep food in your tent – not even a chocolate bar.

•Properly store and pack out all garbage.

•Handle and store pet food with as much care as your own.

Tips from: (B.C Government, Ministry of Environment, Environmental Stewardship Division, 1996)


Being Bear Aware this summer will ensure your safety, the safety of others in the Valley and the safety of the bears. Enjoy the summer and stay safe.


Grant Loeppky

Health, Safety and Training Coordinator


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