Bear sightings on dike trail by Dogwood Park, Fernie and Grizzly bears in Jaffray and Tie Lake

Friday October 26.  Bears have been seen on 4th Avenue A and on the dike trail by Dogwood park in Fernie.  Grizzly bear sightings reported by the Tie Lake Transfer Station and knocking over empty garbage cans on Shelbourne road in Jaffray.  Remember, even an empty garbage is a visual cue and odors will attract bears.   Keep them indoors and away from  bears.

For more information on wildlife and safety go to

bear sniffing garbage can

Bears on Park Crescent, James White Park and in West Fernie

Bear sightings have been reported in a backyard on Park Crescent, in James White Park and on the trail by the wetlands area in West Fernie.  So far this year the number of calls to the Conservation Officer Service has been low in residential areas, 45 reports for black bears in 2018, versus 157 in 2015.  To date this year one injured black bear was destroyed for humane reasons at Fernie Alpine Resort and one habituated cougar was destroyed in the City of Fernie.   This reduction in human/wildlife conflict can be attributed to a good berry crop, increased awareness regarding the management of wildlife attractants, a high bear mortality rate in 2015 and less garbage accessible to wildlife with the new automated wildlife resistant carts and bear resistant community dumpsters.

However, there was an increase in incidents between people and wildlife in recreational areas as trail and backcountry use continues to increase.  A child was attacked by a cougar in Morissey and there were many reports of mountain bikers getting bluff charged by grizzly bears on trails. More people and highway traffic, a noticeable increase in trail use, more visitors, unsecured garbage, unmanaged fruit trees and new developments all contribute to human/wildlife conflict.

Thanks for being a good neighbour by keeping your garbage carts indoors until day of collection, picking all fruit as soon as possible, assisting neighbours who may be unable to pick their fruit trees and securing anything else that might attract wildlife.  Consider removing fruit trees that you don’t plan to harvest and replace them with native non-fruit bearing trees.  The end result will be a safer and cleaner community for people and wildlife.


bear eating apples

apple trees will attract bears to your yard

Cougar sightings at Fernie Alpine Resort and Grizzly bears in Jaffray and Hosmer

Wildlife update Monday October 15.


A cougar was reported on Highline Drive by Lizard Creek Lodge late at night on the weekend.   If you see a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter. Call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report the incident.


Grizzly and black bears reported on properties on Stephenson road.

South Country

Grizzly bear sightings reported throughout Jaffray and Galloway.  Livestock and fruit trees are the main attractant in this area.

If you keep chickens, bees or small livestock, use a properly installed and maintained electric fence.  Store all feed in a secure location and ensure feeding areas are clean and free of attractants. Apples are a food source for bears.  Thanks for being a good neighbour and not putting your neighborhood in harm’s way by picking all fruit as soon as possible and assisting neighbours who may be unable to pick their fruit. Consider removing fruit trees and replacing them with native non-fruit bearing trees.

For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict visit



FJ Mitchell students in Sparwood learning about the new Bear Resistant Carts

Thanks to Kindergarten, Grade 2 and Grade 5 students and teachers at FJ Mitchell elementary in Sparwood.  I’m always so impressed with the knowledge and passion our kids have about wildlife.  I am counting on them to go home and educate their families about the benefits of the proper use of the new bear resistant garbage carts and the importance of preventing human/wildlife conflict at home.

FJ mitchell with bin

Bears getting into garbage left out by the Montane Barn and grizzly bears in Jaffray

Passers-by reported bears accessing garbage left overnight by the Montane Barn in Fernie early Sunday morning.  Bears have now learned that garbage is an easy food source.  Expect them to return anytime and to start making their way into town from the outside perimeter.  Bear sightings have been reported in the park behind Riverside Drive in West Fernie.


Bear sightings reported on Fording Drive.

South Country

Two families of grizzly bears have been reported accessing fruit trees throughout Jaffray.   WildSafeBC and the Conservation Officer Service have canvassed the area and requested property owners to clean up fruit trees.

We live in wildlife habitat. Be aware of your surroundings and respectful of the environment.  If you observed dangerous wildlife

  • accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
  • that cannot be scared off
  • a bear, cougar or wolf seen in an urban area

Call the Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) 24 hr hotline on 1-877-952-7277. This allows officers to identify current hot spot locations and work with both residents and wildlife to encourage use of natural habitats and food sources before wildlife becomes habituated and/or a safety concern.

For more information on keeping communities’ safe and wildlife wild please visit, or follow us on Facebook WildSafeBC Elk Valley.

Bear Carrying Garbage - Kirk Friederich





Bear sightings on the outside perimeter of Fernie and grizzly bear sighitngs in the South Country

Wildlife update Monday October 1.  Bear sightings have been reported on the Coal Discovery Trail just below Silveridge and on the dike trail by the golf course on the outside perimeter of Fernie.  There have been very few recent bear sightings in Fernie.   Let’s keep it that way.   It is much easier to keep human food and other attractants away from wildlife in the first place, than it is to teach bears, cougars, deer, skunks and rodents to stay away from unnatural food, such as garbage that they have learned to enjoy.

Bear sightings have been reported throughout the Montane Trail network and up by Castle Mountain.  A moose was reported on Deadfall earlier this week.  When you choose to recreate in the back country be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.  Wildlife, like people, will choose the path of least resistance and will cover great distances to forage for food.

South Country

Black and grizzly bear sightings have reported throughout the South Country, Jaffray, Rosen Lake, Tie Lake , Grassmere, Galloway and on the Jaffray Baynes Lk rd.  Protect small livestock with a properly maintained electric fence.

Store all feed in a secure location and ensure feeding areas are clean and free of wildlife attractants.  Hunters, thank you for disposing of carcasses responsibly, split them up, bag them and take them to the transfer station.

Thank you for keeping garbage in a garage, shed or indoors inaccessible to bears and other wildlife, cleaning up fruit trees and anything else that might attract wildlife.

For more information go to

bear family from fernie




What do you do if you see a bear? Ask a kindergarten student!

Thank you to all the students ad teachers I have worked with this past week at IDES, the Fernie Academy, Fernie and Sparwood Foreign Exchange students and Elkford High School.  I am always so impressed with the passion and knowledge our children have.  Even the 5 year olds know what to do if they see a bear or where to keep garbage between collection days.  Keep up the great work and thanks for helping educate our community on the importance of keeping wildlife wild and communities safe.

I look forward to working with Outdoor Connections Forest School, Bright Beginnings and Sparwood and Jaffray elementary next week.  If you would like to book a WildSafeBC presentation for your group please contact fernie@wildsafebc.comdaycare

The Elk Valley Homesteading Volunteers Picked Eight Truckloads of Apples in Fernie.

bear eating apples

apple trees will attract bears to your yard

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




A black bear had to be trapped then euthanized in Sparwood Heights over the weekend

A black bear has been reported accessing unsecured garbage and posing a threat to human safety in Sparwood Heights since the spring.   We, the people, contributed to the death of this bear by approaching it or feeding it, by intent or neglect with garbage left outdoors and apples on the tree or windfall fruit rotting on the ground!   Repeated exposure to people lead to the bear posing a threat to human safety and ultimately its death.

Why don’t we just move bears out of town so they can live in the forest?  The Conservation Officer Service used to regularly trap and relocate bears.  Then, in the late 1980’s this practice was questioned.  As a result, relocated bears were marked with an ear tag when they were released.  Some were radio collared and tracked.  Two things became apparent:

-The survival rate of relocated bears was very low.  The bears often fail to adapt to their new habitat and may starve to death or be killed by animals that already occupy the area.

-Most relocated bears were finding their way back into their original home territory or become “problem” animals in other communities.

Relocating bears is not a solution.  Keeping garbage stored indoors until collection day, cleaning up fruit trees and securing wildlife attractants is the best way to keep people safe, prevent property damage, and avoid the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with people.

for more information visit

garbage attracts bears

secure the garbage and bears will move on



Black bear sightings reported on Fairy Creek Trail

Wednesday September 5.  A black bear was reported on the Fairy Creek by the cattleguard.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. Your best defense is to be aware of wildlife in the area.

 Make Noise to avoid a surprise encounter (use your human voice, clap hands or two rocks together – especially near running water or in dense brush)

  • Carry a walking stick (adults can carry Bear Spray in a side holster)
  • Walk in groups
  • Keep dogs leashed and/or under voice control

     If you encounter a Bear:

  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side)
  • Use your voice in a calm, assertive manner.
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife

For more information on wildlife and safety go to

blackiie 1