Category Archives: Wildlife

Jasper Park trails reopen

Some of Jasper Park’s most popular trails reopened this week as the danger from wildfire and rogue bears subsided. Rain and cooler weather dampened the Excelsior Creek Fire in the Maligne Valley, and allowed Parks Canada to lift travel restrictions  for the Skyline Trail and the Maligne Lake Road on Wednesday, July 22. All trails in the Maligne Valley are open with the exception of the Watchtower, where 40 fire fighters and three […]

Grizzly closure at Chester Lake

A grizzly bear moved into the Chester Lake cirque in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on Sunday (July 19), resulting in the indefinite closure of that trail. It was a prime example of what happens when too many people wander into a grizzly’s dining room, and we were there to witness it. I have a few hard and fast rules when it comes to hiking, and one of them is: “Never […]

Jonas-Brazeau Loop closure

The Jonas Pass-Brazeau Lake Loop, one of Jasper Park’s most popular backcountry trips, has been closed for a month by an aggressive grizzly bear. It is a closure that extends from Nigel Pass on the park’s southwest boundary with Banff Park and around the park’s entire South Boundary to Rocky Pass. The closure was initiated on June 17th after a grizzly in Jasper’s South Boundary country became habituated to human food […]

Where the bears are in the Canadian Rockies

There are certain trails in the mountain parks where I always think about bears. But I always think about them more, and somewhat nervously, when hiking alone in the autumn. The incidence of serious grizzly encounters always seems to rise in the fall. Bears are at lower elevations and might be a bit more aggressive in their search for pre-hibernation food. People just get in the way. There are some trails I […]

A Wild Year in Banff National Park

 “That ain’t no ground squirrel!” We don’t expect to see many animals when we’re hiking in the mountain parks. Ground squirrels, grey jays and, if we’re on the right trail, maybe hoary marmots, pikas and ptarmigan. If we’re looking for wildlife, the big sexy kind like bear, bighorn sheep, elk, moose or wolf, the highways are a better bet. But that doesn’t mean animals aren’t near, maybe even watching us […]

Marble Canyon area trail closures lifted in Kootenay National Park

A closure of several hiking trails in the north end of Kootenay National Park was lifted this week (August 30, 2013) just in time for the Labour Day weekend. The closure was centred on the popular Marble Canyon Hiking Trail and was enacted August 20 after a grizzly was discovered feeding on a carcass in the area (see my earlier post  Grizzly closes trails in Kootenay National Park). In addition […]

Helen Lake: Feisty grizzly prompts trail closure

Banff National Park’s Helen Lake Hiking Trail is one of the most popular day hikes from the Icefield Parkway. It is also a favourite summer feeding ground for grizzly bears, particularly sow bears with cubs. Sometimes hikers and bears have coexisted peacefully. But a number of aggressive encounters with a mother grizzly and her two cubs during the past month (August 2013) prompted Parks Canada to close the Helen Creek […]

Grizzly closes trails in Kootenay National Park

Already suffering trail closures from bridge washouts and the Numa Creek fire, Kootenay National Park has closed several more trails at the north end of the park due to grizzly bear activity. The closure went into effect August 20, 2013. Trails affected by the closure include the popular Marble Canyon nature trail (162) and the adjacent Tokumm Creek trail (164). Also closed are the Marble Canyon-Paint Pots connector and the […]