In Revy we're close to nature, and that can lead to close encounters with wildlife.
Before heading out to explore our wild spaces, make sure that you are properly equipped and that you have the knowledge to properly deal with wildlife encounters.
Because Revelstoke is situated in the heart of British Columbia's wilderness, wildlife encounters can happen anywhere. Whether you're going for a stroll on the Illecillewaet Greenbelt, driving the Meadows in the Sky Parkway or summiting Mount Begbie, make sure you know what to do if you encounter wildlife while you're out exploring.
Keep your distance.
The most important step to avoiding problematic wildlife encounters is simple: give wildlife ample space. Stay at least 100 metres away from bears, cougras, coyotes and wolves. Give other wildlife at least 30 metres of space. Approaching wildlife or allowing wildlife to approach you can lead to them no longer being wary of people and puts yourself, others and wildlife at risk.
Keep campsites and picnic areas clean.
Wildlife is attracted to scents, including food, bath products and cleaning products. If you are camping or picnicing in Revelstoke, ensure that you take care to set up and clean up properly. When leaving your campsite for the day, pack up all cooking equipment. Do not leave any garbage or food unattended.
If you are camping in the backcountry, some sites have bear storage lockers. In campsites without bear lockers, you will need to be prepared to make a bear hang.
Don't feed wildlife.
There's a common expression that we know well in Revelstoke: a fed bear is a dead bear. It's important that wildlife don't become habituated to eating human food. Wild animals who become used to handouts will lose their natural fear of people. This draws them into populated areas and makes them a threat to communities.
Don't feed animals directly, and ensure that you don't feed them indirectly. Cleaning up your food and keeping your garbage secure will ensure that you don't give our wildlife an unintentional treat.
Carry bear spray.
If you plan on heading out to hike, you're heading into bear country. Make sure that you carry bear spray and check the expiration date. Read and understand the instructions for use. Ensure that your bear spray is easily accessible and not tucked away in your pack.
If you do encounter a bear on the trail, maintain a safe distance, back slowly away, and give it a wide berth. If the bear approaches you, back away and wave your arms. Your bear spray is your last line of defence to be used when a bear is within 10 metres of you.
Keep control of your pets.
In our National Parks, your pets must be on leash, and there are some areas where pets are not allowed at all (the summit of Mount Revelstoke, for example). It's essential that visitors respect these restrictions and closures for the health of humans and wildlife.
If you are exploring the outdoors with your dog, ensure that your dog is on a leash or that they have excellent recall.
Respect regulations and closures.
Some wilderness areas are permanently closed to certain types of traffic to protect both visitors and wildlife. In particular some areas are closed to protect mountain caribou habitat.
Parks Canada will sometimes institute specific regulations about group numbers or close specific trails because of problem wildlife.
Our Visitor Information Centre is a great source for the latest closures and regulations.