Bear Smart Camping Tips

Bear Smart Camping Tips
Victoria Day long weekend, May 16th to 18th kicked off the camping and outdoor recreation season for 2009 for most Canadians. However, humans won’t be the only ones frequenting campgrounds, picnic sites and parks. Vancouver Island hosts a diverse wildlife population including a healthy number of black bears; several, of which, are needlessly destroyed every year. By preventing bear-human conflicts, risks to human safety and damage to private property can be significantly reduced. The following tips will help ensure a pleasant recreation experience for humans and bears alike.
- After barbequing, burn off the grill, cover and store securely. Store camping grills or stoves in the trunk of your vehicle when not in use.
- Store all coolers in your vehicle, even empty clean ones. Bears will recognize the shape of a cooler as a “food box” and will investigate even if there is nothing inside them!
- Remove all garbage and empty cans/bottles/fuel containers regularly from your campsite or picnic site to a wildlife proof container.
- Store pet food in the trunk, your vehicle or in a bear proof container as carefully as you would your own food; do not leave pet dishes out unattended.
- Dump dishwater in designated areas and securely lock up any items associated with food preparation such as table cloths, dish rags, dish soap and towels. Bears are attracted to dish soap and dirty dishwater.
- Do not store toiletries in your tent, lock them up. This includes toothpaste, cosmetics, perfumes, insect spray etc...
- Do not store any kind of food in your tent, even food that is in vacuum sealed packages.
- Store citronella candles securely when you are done with them.
- Good advice is if it smells, lock it up!
If you encounter or see a bear remain calm and retreat to a safe place. Make noise and let the bear know that it is not welcome in the area. Give the bear plenty of space, generally they are passing through and if there is no food for them they will move on peacefully. Keep children close at all times and dogs on leash. Be sure to immediately notify the campground operator of sightings especially if aggressive or threatening behaviour is displayed by the bear. Report all sightings and human-bear conflicts such as property damage, a threatening or aggressive bear or if the bear has no escape route to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).
For more information on how to bear-proof your campsite & home property or to volunteer with the Alberni Valley Bear Smart Committee call:
Dawn Boyce 250-723-2187 or
Darlene Clark 250-724-4657
Information provided by Christina Brack AVBSC Volunteer
For more information on the Ministry of Environment Bear Smart Community Program or the Bear Smart BC Society please call:
Crystal McMillan at 250-(BEAR) 2327.