Wow, what a tremendous effort to feed families not bears! Twenty five property owners in Fernie registered for assistance with fruit picking on four select days between late August and mid-September. Many properties’ had up to four apple trees. Fruit from 18 of the 30 trees was harvested; this added up to eight pick up truckloads of apples. Four truck loads were used by volunteers to make pies, apple sauce, cider and juice, three were donated to farmers and one was taken to the transfer station.
Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility. Volunteer efforts were prioritized based on need. Seniors, people with disabilities, location such as proximity to a school or park and properties on the outside perimeter of town. Harvesting was scheduled when apples are ripe, softer translucent apples first followed by firm and crab apples.
Thank you to Rachel Dortman and Madeleine Bragg for spearheading this effort and to all of the volunteers, children and adults from across the Elk Valley who took part in this fruit picking initiative. This is a big step in the right direction and a noticeable positive difference in the overall management of apple trees in Fernie. Thank you everyone for helping keep our wonderful community safe for wildlife and people.
Unsecured garbage and unmanaged fruit trees are the root cause of human/wildlife conflict in BC communities. Bears will pass through our yards; we chose to live in bear country! It is important however, that the bear is not rewarded for being there. When a bear gets food (garbage and apples) in your yard, it doesn’t know that your tolerance for bears is higher than your neighbours. It learns that a house, lawn, bicycle and the faint smell of people comes with an easy meal. It eats, learns and moves on. Eventually it will find itself somewhere it is not welcome. And when bears and humans are in conflict, the bear dies nearly every time.
For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict go to www.wildsafebc.com