There are reports of bears feeding on berries in the area, a post on the Alberta Parks website said.
Complaints from campers at Wyndham-Carseland on Aug. 25 noted a black bear across the campground near the golf course, said Dave Hagedorn, district conservation officer with Alberta Parks.
“As the berries ripen along the banks of the Bow River in the fall, bears will move along the river valley and they will try to find berries wherever they can. So, they’ll move east of the city and east of the foothills in order to find food.
“It’s likely the food supply has taken them that far east. And it’s not uncommon to have bears in that area.”
Autumn is berry season, so bears are fattening up for winter. Hagedorn said bears moving around is a normal occurrence – it’s just because of the time of year that we see more bears do this.
“They move with the food supply… They’re working their way along the river valley there and they’re finding a supply of berries which may or may not be plentiful this time of year, depending on weather conditions throughout the summer,” he said. “It’s apparent that they’re finding some berries down in there and that’s what they’re looking for.”
“It really depends on what the berry crop looks like in certain areas,” Hagedorn added. “They’ll move with the berry crop. So if there’s a poor crop closer to the mountains or it’s been picked over, they’re going to migrate away from that.”
There might be a need for more protected provincial areas for the animal, said Joanna Skrajny, conservation specialist with the Alberta Wilderness Association. Black bears interact with people differently than grizzly bears do, she said.
“Black bears are kind of the raccoons of the bear world. They take advantage of all food and they do what they can. They take more risks. Grizzly bears need big, undisturbed areas of habitats. So they generally try to steer clear if anyone’s in the area.”
WATCH: Alberta Parks has issued another bear warning, but not for the Rockies. A black bear was spotted at Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park an hour east of Calgary. Lauren Pullen reports.
August is a critical time for bears because those berries are their main crop they use to prepare for hibernation, Skrajny said.
“When you’re out on the trail and you see a bunch of red berries around, you should maybe think, ‘There’s going to be a bunch of bears feeding around here pretty quick.’ So maybe steer clear or be on the lookout for bears.”
When in areas populated with bears, officials recommend:
- Giving the animal space
- Making noise and travelling in groups
- Keeping your campsite clean
- Being aware of your surroundings
- Keeping your pet on a leash
- Carrying easily accessible bear spray (and knowing how to use it)
The government also asks the public to report bear sightings by phone at 1-844-435-7775 or 1-844-HELP-PRK.
The park is about 83 kilometres east of Calgary.
Additional safety advisories including bear closures can be found on the Alberta Parks website.