Bear resistant dumpsters available for public use 24/7 in Fernie

public br dumpsterShould you miss garbage day or have no garage or shed to store garbage securely between collection days, there is a great new convenient option for you available 7 days a week 24 hours a day!  Thanks to the City of Fernie who now has bear resistant dumpsters available for public use at four locations in Fernie:  City Hall, Aquatic Centre, Max Turyk and the Arena. The dumpsters are easily identified by a “Keep Wildlife Wild” sticker.

If you notice anyone with garbage outside, please help spread the word and tell them about the importance of keeping garbage inaccessible to bears in bear country.  Thanks for your help.  Household garbage kept outside (in the backyard, under the carport or on the porch) is the root cause of human/bear conflict in BC communities.

The dumpsters are for household garbage only and are only as bear resistant as the users!

Do not litter and keep the area surrounding clean and odor free

Garbage must be placed in the bin provided, the lid closed and latched

Take larger items (appliances, debris, and furniture) to the transfer station


Bears reported in Sparwood, West Fernie and Moose on Eric’s Trail

Sunday September 11.  A bear and cubs have been reported throughout Sparwood;  Sparwood Heights, Pine Avenue, Cedar Drive by the high school and Juniper Crescent the last few days.  Bear sightings reported in the park behind Riverside Drive in West Fernie.  A mooseBear_Garbage_Can was seen by mountain bikers by the junction of Kids Stuff and Eric’s trail in Fernie.

For your own safety and to help keep our wildlife wild, keep your garbage locked up between collection days, clean up fruit trees and secure all other bear attractants for the next two months.

Garbage, fruit trees, birdseed and pet food etc. attract bears to your property making it more likely for the bear to break into your home creating a safety risk for your family and a death sentence for the bear.

Please share this with family, friends and neighbours.  It is everyone who lives in bear country’s responsibility.



Learn how to safely use bear spray on September 17th

Learn how to prevent wildlife encounters and safely use bear spray

Saturday September 17th at the Fernie Mountain Bike Park by the Gazebo at 10 am

Join us to celebrate 17 years of keeping wildlife wild and communitiesBCGW-Inclusive-Poster2-small safe on our provincial BC goes wild weekend. WildSafeBC will be doing a short public presentation (30 minutes) on preventing wildlife encounters and how to safely use bear spray. Inert bear spray (bear spray without the potency of the cayenne pepper) will be used to demonstrate. This is your opportunity for hands on practice with the inert spray.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. Having bear spray accessible and knowing how to use it will enable you to remain calm, give you the confidence to stop, assess the situation and back away slowly in the event of an encounter with wildlife. Bear spray is not a substitute for using common sense but can be used as your last best defence if necessary.

Properly used bear spray is said to be the most effective bear deterrent available, and a study co-authored by University of Calgary Professor Stephen Herrero found that attack victims using spray are much less likely to be injured than those defending themselves with a gun. The 2012 study, published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, showed that 92% of people using bear spray during an attack escaped injury, compared to only 50% of gun users.

For more information contact


Bear sightings in West Fernie and in the Annex

Tuesday August 30th.  Bear sightings have been reported on 9th avenue in the Annex and on Colclough Avenue in West Fernie.  WildSafeBC  and the summer student Bylaw Officers were out visiting businesses in Fernie to ensure that commercial dumpsters were kept closed and secured in a manner not to attract wildlife.  One written warning was issued  and recommendations were made to several businesses to upgrade to bear resistant dumpsters.

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure we are not attracting wildlife into our community. Thank you for keeping garbage indoors, cleaning up fruit trees and making sure dumpsters are closed and locked and the area surrounding is kept clean and odor free.  bylaw students and wsbc.JPG

Bear sightings reported by the Coal Creek boat launch, Alpine Trail and Anderson Road in Fernie.

Thursday August 25.  A bear was seen on the dike trail by the Coal Creek boat launch early yesterday morning.  Bear sightings also reported on Anderson road and Alpine Trail in the last few days.  Evidence of bear activity (scat) was seen on several trails, Ecoterrorist and Montane.

Be prepared and expect to encounter bears anytime.  If you see a bear, stop, stay calm, identify your self as human, back away slowly and leave the bear an escape route.  Please make it a top priority to bear proof your home and encourage your neighbours to do the same.

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The Causeway Bay Hotel in Sparwood upgrades to Bear Resistant Dumpsters

Thank you to the Causeway Bay Hotel in Sparwood who has shown commitment to preventing human/wildlife by upgrading to  bear resistant dumpsters and thank you to all Sparwood residents who have bear proofed their properties and are keeping garbage indoors until the day of collection.

The Bylaw Officer and WildSafeBC conducted an evening patrol in Sparwood Heights and the Elk Valley Mobile Home Park last night causeway bay dumpsterchecking for garbage out on the curb the night before collection which is a bear attractant. Six written warnings and one verbal warning were issued.

Keeping garbage indoors and inaccessible to wildlife and securing attractants is the best way to keep wildlife wild, communities safe and prevent the needless destruction of bears.

Cougar sightings reported behind Ridgemont Lane in Fernie

Monday August 22.  A cougar sighting was reported by residents on Ridgemont Lane late at night over the weekend.  The cougar was in the wooded area that runs parallel to the residential area.

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.

Bear sightings reported on Sidewinder trail in Fernie and by the disc golf course in Sparwood

Thursday August 18.  A bear sighting was reported yesterday on Sideewinder trail in Fernie just above the Ridgemont subdivision.  A bear with cubs was reported by the disc golf course in Sparwood the last few days.

Bears, like people, will choose the path of least resistance.  Expect to encounter bears on trails and in recreational areas which often lead right into residential areas.  Help keep our bears wild, lock up your garbage, clean your fruit trees and secure all bear attractants.  Help your neighbours do the same, the end result will benefit everyone and help prevent the needless destrution of bears.

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Expect human/bear encounters to increase in the next few weeks

There have been very few reports of human/bear conflict the last few months.  This is quite typical, especially when berries and natural food sources are plentiful.  A bear can consume up to 100 000 berries in a day.  As we approach the fall, berry crops dry up and bears will travel great distances for food.   Bears are natural scavengers, have great memories, a keen sense of smell and will remember an easy food source.

Carelessly stored garbage and apple trees are the root causes of bear human conflict in BC and are an open invitation for bears. In 2015 the number of bear encounters reported to the Conservation Officer Service went from 450 in early August, to over 800 by September 1st and peaked at just over 1200 by the end of September.

Please take some time to bear-proof your property, ensure garbage is kept indoors until collection day and make a plan to clean up apple trees.  Apple trees in bear country are a huge responsibility and can be a lot of work, but don’t despair, there are solutions! If you or someone you know have an apple tree that’s too much to manage and can potentially lure bears into the neighborhood there is a group of volunteers available to assist you with harvesting and disposing of apples.  Contact Rachel Dortman:  250-423-8665, email: or Elk Valley Homesteading on Facebook.

Wildsight’s apple capture program has fruit picking and tree pruning equipment and an apple press available to borrow.  You can also share your harvest.   Contact Wildsight on 250-423-3322, email: or go to for more information.

A community map of properties with apple trees has been updated.  A leaflet with apple tree management tips and resources have been delivered to Fernie properties with apple trees.  Thank you for helping your family, friends and neighbours with bear-proofing your neighborhood.  Let’s work together to ensure that our community remains safe for both wildlife and people. BC bear encounter graph

Bear sightings reported on Project 9 and Happy Gilmar trails in Fernie

Monday August 15.  A bear was seen on Project 9 trail in the meadow just before the power line earlier this morning.  A mountain biker came around a corner on Happy Gilmar trail and saw a bear lying on the trail a few days ago.  He was able to stop in time to avoid the collision and back away.

Make noise to warn wildlife of your presence and always be alert.  For more information go to www.WildSafeBC.comtop gun