Thank you to the Elkford Library

It was a pleasure to present to Elkford Library’s Summer Reading Club.  Thanks to everyone for their participation.  I know that I can count on you to help ensure that Elkford remains a safe place for people and wildlife.

To book a presentation for your group contact fernie@wildsafebc.comelkford library reading camp

Free “How to Safely Use Bear Spray Workshops” coming up in Fernie and Sparwood

WildSafeBC, the Fernie Chamber of Commerce and the Sparwood Trails Alliance will be cohosting Wildlife Safety and How to Use Bear Spray Workshops.  Come along and learn how to respond to wildlife encounters and get hands on experience using inert bear spray (like the real thing but without the sting of the pepper).

Fernie: Tuesday July 23 at 5:30 pm at the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, 102 Commerce Road (Fernie Info Centre)

Sparwood: Tuesday August 6th at 6 pm at the Sparwood Golf Clubhouse.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented.  Having bear spray accessible and knowing how to use it will give you the confidence to do the right thing.   Stay calm, assess the situation, respond accordingly and not give in to the instinct to run, which can trigger the chase instinct.  Bear spray has been determined to be an effective deterrent that can reduce injury and potentially safe your life. Like a seat belt, it should be considered essential safety equipment when travelling in wildlife country.

For more information or to book a workshop for your group contact

Bear spray Far staff

No option to secure your garbage cart indoors? Here are ways to make your garbage less accessible to wildlife

In the event that you absolutely cannot keep your garbage indoors and inaccessible to wildlife between collection days, here are some options for Fernie residents to consider:

  • Freeze smelly items until the day of collection
  • Bring your garbage to the transfer station (free) or use one of the communal bins (also free)
  • Always put the cart out the morning of collection and never the night before

As always, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to prevent dangerous wildlife from accessing unnatural food such as garbage on their property as per the BC Wildlife Act, Section 33.1. The City of Fernie Waste Regulation Bylaw No. 1845, also requires all waste to be stored indoors between collection days.

For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflicts go to


Bear sightings reported on Montane trail over the weekend.

Monday July 8.  Bear sightings were reported by mountain bikers on the Forever Blue and Uprooted trails in Montane over the weekend.  Be prepared and expect to encounter bears anytime!

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

Call 1-877-952-7277 to report human/wildlife conflict


Moose and calf, grizzly and cub in Mt Fernie Provincial Park, Grizzly seen on Douglas Cres Elkford.

Tuesday July 2.  Moose and calf seen by Gorby bridge on the weekend and grizzly bear and cub seen on Brokeback ridge trail where it crosses the power line July 1st late pm.  Grizzly bear sighting reported in a backyard on Douglas Crescent over the weekend.

The crowds have moved on but the wildlife are here to stay and will choose the path of least resistance, the man made trails!  When you choose to recreate in wildlife habitat, be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.

For more safety tips go to www.wildsafebc.composter

Look at everyone that has garbage left outdoors between collection days in Fernie

WildSafeBC and the Conservation Officer Service conducted a wildlife attractant assessment (WAA) in the Annex earlier this week in areas that have a history of wildlife activity.  We visited 9th, 11th and 12 th avenue in the Annex.  The red dots on this map indicate households with garbage carts left outdoors between collection days that were visible from the curb!  That doesn’t include garbage stashed in the backyard!  Households were left a reminder to keep garbage inaccessible to bears  There will be follow up!  More wildlife attractant assessments are planned for other areas with a history of wildlife activity.

annex photo WAA June 25


Bears accessing garbage left outside on Slalom Drive in Fernie

For the safety of your kids and pets keep garbage indoors until collection day.  If you have a small home and /or no garage or shed, take garbage to the bear resistant community bins located at the Aquatic centre, the arena, city hall or Max Turyk.  If you have no vehicle to do this, hopefully family, friends or a neighbour can help you with this.

The end result will be a cleaner and safer community for everyone.

garbage attracts bears

secure the garbage and bears will move on

People approaching and feeding a bear in Mt Fernie Provincial Park

People were reported approaching and “throwing food at a bear” in Mount Fernie Provincial Park on the weekend.  If you ever witness anything like this in a park contact park staff immediately if possible and call the Conservation Officer Hotline on 1-877-952-7277.  It is an offence in BC to feed wildlife.  Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation, they lose they fear of people; no longer behave like wild bears and often end up in conflict with people.

The bear in this picture is displaying defensive behaviour, swatting the ground with his paw and looking distressed.  The bear then ran up a tree to escape the threat (people).  This is normal behaviour for a wild bear.  Photo by Steven Szelei.

It is an offence in BC to provide food by intent or neglect to wildlife. BC Wildlife Act.

swatting paw steven szelei

climbing tree steve szelei