Parks Canada has a message for people visiting popular spots like Riding Mountain National Park: don’t leave your trash lying around.
Riding Mountain, like many parks across the province, has seen an increase in the number of visitors as COVID-19 restrictions become looser, and while Manitobans are encouraged to visit, we need to do our part to keep the park clean.
“We’re here to make sure people find ways to connect… and one of the ways people do that is taking in any of the number of trails, beaches, things, like that — and doing that responsibly,” Parks Canada’s Brett Smith told Global News.
“To make sure people are aware of their shared responsibilities at the national park.”
Part of that responsibility: don’t leave anything with a strong odour out in the open.
“Anything that really smells is an attractant to wildlife,” said Smith.
“It needs to be put in safe places. That could be in the trunk of your car, or that could be in any of the bear-proof bins we have around the park.
“There are some challenges we try to manage there in making sure that wildlife and humans can co-exist.”
Smith said that during the park’s peak season, increased staffing and more frequent garbage pickups help to prevent issues with wildlife, as this season is prime time to a particularly impressionable type of forest-dweller.
“What we see at this time of year, typically, are those teenager bears — the bears that have just been kicked out of the house, so to speak, who are looking for their place in the world.
“We want to make sure those young bears don’t become conditioned — that they don’t get that first taste of a chicken bone left at a picnic site, and then they keep coming back to that place because they’ve been rewarded.
“They’ve very smart creatures.”