UPDATE: Riverfront Park was reopened Friday morning. Fish and Wildlife said there has not been any other sighting of the black bear since Thursday.
The Town of Cochrane has temporarily shut down Riverfront Park and nearby pathways because of a black bear sighting in the area Thursday afternoon.
In a Facebook post Friday afternoon, the Town of Cochrane said barricades had been removed but advised people in the area to be on alert.
Kurt Alksne said he was running his regular route through the park at around 1 p.m. when a man flagged him down, warning him about a bear nearby.
Alksne said he spotted the bear using the stairs between Griffin Road, at the intersection of 5 Avenue, down towards Riverfront Park.
Alksne believed he was far enough away to snap a few pictures and take a video but said he kept his distance from the bear.
WATCH BELOW: The latest black bear sighting caused Cochrane’s Riverfront Park to temporarily close Thursday. Michael King has tips from officials on how to avoid attracting wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife officers were called to the scene to safely move the bear out of the area. According to Alksne, officials tried to direct the bear to back away from the trails, towards the river.
Alksne said it’s unclear if they were able to capture the bear and move it out of the area.
A post on the town’s Facebook page is urging people to stay away until further notice.
“Crews don’t know how long this operation will take, but the town will provide updates as we get them,” the post read.
Alksne admitted he was surprised to see the bear in the area but said it wasn’t overly alarming.
Watch below: WildSmart education coordinator Nick de Ruyter joins Global News Morning Calgary with details on the most recent wildlife warnings and tips on how to stay bear safe.
On Friday, Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Brendan Cox said bear sightings are becoming more common in the Canmore and Cochrane areas.
“As the human population and development continues to grow in these areas,” Cox said, “it is likely that sightings will continue to increase.”
Fish and Wildlife is urging the public to take preventative steps in order to deter bears:
- Keep garbage and recyclable bottles and cans in wildlife-resistant, airtight containers and keep compost indoors or use an indoor composter;
- Remove bird feeders from yards between April and October. Clean up any spilled bird feed;
- Pick ripening fruit as early as possible and store it in secure, airtight containers;
- Clean barbecues after every use and store them in a secure building;
- Keep pet food indoors and feed pets indoors.
–With files from Michael King, Global News