About British Columbia
Seeing a bear in the wild is a special treat for any visitor. While it is an exciting moment, it is important to remember that bears in national parks are wild and can be dangerous. Their behavior is sometimes unpredictable. Although rare, attacks on humans have occurred, inflicting serious injuries and death. Each bear and each experience is unique; there is no single strategy that will work in all situations and that guarantees safety. Most bear encounters end without injury.
Food will be stored in containers and put in the locked storage when not in use.
Guides will carry bear spray and “bear poppers” or noise-making devices.
Trash and food waste will be properly disposed of in bear-proof trashcans or safely stored until the next safe disposal location.
Your Guide will have bear spray and noise deterrents on them to use if necessary. We do not recommend traveling or bringing your own bear spray. Instead, you can protect yourself and lessen the threat of danger by following some basic guidelines.
- If you see a bear never approach. Always remain at least 100 yards (300 feet) away.
- Identify yourself by remaining calm and talking calmly so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal.
- Remain still; stand your ground but slowly wave your arms. Help the bear recognize you as a human. It may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening. Remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone.
- A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack. Never imitate bear sounds or make a high-pitched squeal.
- Hike and travel in groups. Groups of people are usually noisier and smellier than a single person. Therefore, bears often become aware of groups of people at greater distances, and because of their cumulative size, groups are also intimidating to bears.
- Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground).
- Do NOT allow the bear access to your food.
- If the bear is stationary, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears.
- Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Bears can run as fast as a racehorse both uphill and down. Like dogs, they will chase ﬂeeing animals.
- Leave the area or take a detour. If this is impossible, wait until the bear moves away. Always leave the bear an escape route.
- Be especially cautious if you see a female with cubs; never place yourself between a mother and her cub, and never attempt to approach them. The chances of an attack escalate greatly if she perceives you as a danger to her cubs.
Your Guides will be able to instruct you on how to act and what to do and NOT do if you encounter a bear. For a comprehensive list of tips, you can visit the U.S. National Parks Service or Parks Canada’s website.