hiking /bears!!!!!

Old May 23rd, 2005, 09:45 AM
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hiking /bears!!!!!

Hi,
We are coming to Canada in sept,staying 4nights jasper,3 nights banff,also Calgary.
We have never been to Canada before,very much a fan of the Far east,but thought we would try somewhere completely differant.
Is it safe to hike on your own???????we keep reading reports mentioning the bears,are there any areas that are bear free[is there such a place??????]are they very dangerous??????
Thanking you
sue
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 10:08 AM
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Bears are not exactly cuddly teddy bears, especially if they are grizzlies.

I have never seen a bear in many trips to the Canadian Rockies, and I hike away from the roads quite a distance.

There are known bear habitat areas, and these are posted with warning signs when there are reports of bear activity.

No area is 100% bear free, but usually you don't see one in Banff or Jasper.

A few years ago, a young bear went into the cookie shop at Lake Louise Village.
He went right to the head of the line, got his cookies and pastries, and was permitted to leave free of charge.

In fact, the cashier was in the back when he checked out. So were the rest of the diners -- in the back that is.
Well those who had not finished and departed were in the back. One man told me he was upset that bears were allowed to eat with people.


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Old May 23rd, 2005, 10:19 AM
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We have visited Jasper first time end of September and saw several black bears in the valley and very close to the village (Pine bungalow area). There were also bears with cubs visable feeding very close to Jasper. It was very exiting, but we were on safe distance.

Thereafter we came earlier (middle of September) and did not see any bears in Jasper and on hiking trails.

The NP Informationcenter in Jasper collects bear information and issues updaited daily bear reports, so that visitors can avoid dangerous areas.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 10:47 AM
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From 1990 to 1998 there were 22 serious injuries and fatalities caused by bears in Alberta's mountain national parks (primarily Jasper, Banff and Waterton). That worked out to an average of 2.75 serious injuries and fatalities per year.

This was a period during which 4 million people a year were visiting Banff National Park alone, and another 4 million people a year were passing through that park on their way to other destintaions.

I don't know how many people visited Jasper and Waterton Lakes National Parks during that period. I'll guess that 2 million a year visited Jasper and 1 million a year visited Waterton. So I'll guess that 6 million people a year visited Alberta's mountain national parks (not counting those who only passed through).

So, if my guesses are correct, 1 out of every 2,181,818 visitors got injured or killed by a bear. Of the people who do get injured or killed by bears, the vast majority have failed to take the precautions that are recommended to tourists. In the last couple of decades I have heard of only one man who was an extremely experienced backcounry hiker, and who was known to be meticulous in his precautions, who got killed by a bear. It is widely believed that he probably did nothing "wrong," and that his death can be attributed to the "s**t happens" factor.

If you want to avoid trouble with bears, read these web sites:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/visit12_e.asp

http://www.cmiae.org/hike-bear.htm

While there are no guarantees, taking the recommended precautions will greatly enhance your safety.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Thankyou all for your replys,
I do realise,that they are very dangerous animals,that is why i am concerned about hiking, but we will check reports,look out for signs,and hopefully return to the uk in one piece!!!!!!!!!!
sue
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 12:12 PM
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The Visitor Center in Banff has a daily list of bear sitings and recommended areas to stay away from/
also lists of trails where you have to sign up in groups to hike for your protection
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 03:34 PM
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That's a funny story, Bob. Do you really mean you have never seen a bear in the Rockies - not even on the roadsides with fools trying to feed them or take their photos? There was only one trip that I <i>didn't</i> see a bear in the Rockies.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 06:47 AM
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Many people wear bells so that grizzlies won't be startled as humans approach. This supposedly lowers the risk of a grizzly attack. One hiker asked a ranger how to tell if there are grizzlies or just black bears (less dangerous) in the area. The old ranger's reply -'You can tell by the droppings - black bear droppings are smaller, grizzly droppings have little bells in them'.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Otherwise known as &quot;dinner bells&quot;!

So Bob, you truely have never seen a bear in the Rockies - not even one? My husband and I saw several summer before last without even looking too hard {fortunately, not on a trail}. Funny story!
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Old May 24th, 2005, 08:48 AM
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I too, have not yet seen a bear in the wild after living in Calgary for over 7 years. I hike/scramble fairly often and so far - no bears - but I consider that a good thing.

I have been informed by rangers that to minimize the odds of meeting a bear on a trail your group should talk loudly - this will let the bear know that humans are in the area and they will typically avoid human contact. The &quot;bells&quot; are not a substitute for the human voice.

Hiking alone is not safe - a minimum of two and preferrably three or four individuals is preferred. No bear attacks have been documented for groups of four or more people. Sometimes, trails will designate group sizes for hiking if there have been bear sightings in the area.

Have fun and hike safely.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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Never mind the Rockies, there was a black bear wandering around the streets of Edmonton yesterday.
Edmonton- for those of you who don't know - is a city of over one million people on the northern fringes of the prairies and is about 360 km (220 miles) to the east of Jasper and the Rockies.

Your odds of meeting a bear depend on where you are and what you are doing. You are much less likely to meet a bear on the streets of Banff, on the gondolas or Tramway, on well worn paths and viewpoints with lots of human activity, and unless it is stuffed and mounted, you won't see a bear in restaurants or shops in and around Banff, Jasper or Lake Louise.

You are more likely to meet a bear on long hiking trails in the mountains, near areas where there are food sources for bears (streams, wet areas with lots of berries, etc.).
A hungry bear, or a mother bear with cubs, can be extremely dangerous.

Be careful, take all the precautions that are recommended by Parks staff, and if possible hike with larger groups.

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