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Police urge motorists to be aware of bears in Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park. Police say there have been a number of collisions in the area this year involving bears. They’re now teaming up with Parks Canada to reduce accidents with wildlife. Don Denton / The Canadian Press

Planning on motoring between B.C. and Alberta this long weekend, or sometime this summer?

If your route takes you through Yoho National Park, B.C.’s Highway Patrol (BCHP) wants you to be alert for bears on the roadway.

Police say there have been a number of collisions this year involving bears, and that they’re now teaming up with Parks Canada to reduce accidents with wildlife.

Read more: Sask. photographer encounters bear on Waskesiu Lake Trail

Currently, reduction measures include a no-stopping zone established by Parks Canada along a 10-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway east of Field, B.C., plus a temporary speed-limit reduction.

B.C. Highway Patrol says Parks Canada manages the portion of the Trans-Canada that runs through the park.

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“The section of highway is popular with both black bears and grizzly bears at this time of year due to an abundance of high-value food sources found along the road,” B.C. Highway Patrol said in a press release.

“Unfortunately, this puts the bears at risk of contact with motor vehicles and often results in injury or death to the bears.”

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Police say in mid-June, BCHP officers from Golden plus officers from Parks Canada conducted a speed enforcement and education campaign.

“Motorists were also advised to never stop alongside the road to watch bears or get out of their vehicle and approach any bear,” said police.

Read more: Mother grizzly bear hit by truck near Jasper; cub being monitored

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“Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to feed bears or any wildlife, as this may habituate the animal to humans, putting the animals at risk.”

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BCHP also said during the week-long enforcement campaign, 80 violation tickets were issued for speed-related offences and four vehicles were impounded. One individual was also ticketed for operating a drone in a national park.

“Driving through any of Canada’s national parks allows motorists to see all types of wildlife,” said BCHP Cpl. Mike Halskov. “By slowing down, drivers reduce the risk and severity of a collision with wildlife, including bears.”

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