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


Congratulations to Sparwood who is providing residents with certified bear resistant carts.

Sparwood is taking a big step forward in mitigating human/wildlife conflict and setting a precedent for other rural BC communities by providing residents with certified bear resistant carts. 1700 certified bear resistant carts will be delivered to all residents in Sparwood this week with the new automated garbage collection system starting September 4th.  There is no such thing as a 100% bear proof container.  The carts are bear-resistant, reinforced with metal and latches,   meaning they have been designed and tested to make it difficult for bears to access the garbage inside.

When storing the garbage container, residents will need to ensure that their cart is locked and is in a secure and safe location as to prevent bears and other wildlife from removing or damaging the cart from private property. This can be done by storing the cart indoors in a secure location between collection days during bear season (April to November). In the rare case that they cannot be kept inside a building, both clips must be locked, and the cart may need to be chained to a secure anchor point such as a strong railing or post, so the bear cannot drag the cart away.

As always, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to prevent dangerous wildlife from access unnatural food on their property, (BC wildlife Act, Section 33.1). sparwood bear resisitant bin

Learn how to use bear spray. Tonight, August 29th, 6pm Fernie Bike Park Gazebo

Bear spray Far staffAre you an avid hiker or mountain biker?  Do you have bear spray accessible and how confident are you if you need to use it?  WildSafeBC will be running a “how to safely use bear spray” session tonight, August 29th at 6pm at the Bike Park Gazebo behind the aquatic centre in Fernie, free of charge.  This is a great opportunity to come and get hands on practice with inert bear spray (bear spray without the pepper).

For more information contact

Recent cougar attack and cougars in Fernie. We live in wildlife country, read on to learn more about cougars.

A 4 year old was attacked by a cougar a few weeks ago and a cougar had to be destroyed in Fernie a few nights ago.  We have chosen to live in wildlife country and should be prepared to encounter wildlife anytime and understand wildlife behavior.

Cougars are wide ranging animals and may show up in urban settings from time to time. If they are passing through it is important they do not find food that may encourage them to stay.  Many urban incidents occur with young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt effectively or older animals that can no longer hunt in the wilds.

  • Feed pets indoors and keep pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range, hunt small birds and rodents and, in turn, become prey themselves.
  • Never feed deer or other possible prey species for cougars. While deer may be pleasant to watch, they can attract large predators such as cougars into residential neighborhoods. As well, urban deer present their own set of problems to you and your neighbors.
  • Cougars are most active during the period from dusk until dawn

If you encounter a Cougar

  • Pick up small children and small pets
  • Let the Cougar know you are human-NOT prey
  • Make yourself as large and as mean as possible
  • Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner
  • Back away slowly. Never turn your back on wildlife
  • If the Cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got, it is a predatory attack

Never Approach or Feed Wildlife

Report human/wildlife conflict to 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on cell.


Thank you to Elk Valley Homesteading Volunteers who picked two truck loads of apples in Fernie.

Feed families and livestock, not bears.! The fruit picked by the volunteers was given to families and to farmers to feed livestock as opposed to ending up in the landfill or as an easy food source baiting bears into town.

Do you need help with your apples?  There are resources.  If you are unable to manage your fruit tree due to disability, illness, you are elderly and need assistance picking the fruit, contact:  Rachel Dortman 1-250-423-8665, Facebook: Elk Valley Homesteading.

Wildsight in Fernie has the Apple Capture tree sharing program and equipment available to lend: fruit picking and tree pruning equipment, apple presses, dehydrators, sauce makers, etc.   Call: 1-250-423-3322,,

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility! Fruit needs to be picked daily as it ripens and not allowed to accumulate on the ground is important. Pruning your fruit tree will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit.  Other options are removing the fruiting tree and replacing it with a native non fruit bearing tree.

volunteer apple pick