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Bear Safety and Awareness in Banff National Park

Posted by Rick Wilson, Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Bear Safety and Awareness in Banff National Park

Banff National Park, Alberta

There are all kinds of rhyming advice that I can never remember about bears. I always fear that when I do eventually come across a real live wild bear, I will still be trying to sort out the rhymes as he nibbles on my shins…’If’s it Brown, hit the ground, if it’s black fight back’. Nothing in this rhyme does anything to quell my fears. I don’t want to play dead with a monstrous bear – he is not a 3 year old child looking for a laugh. Nor do I want to get the boxing gloves on and do a few rounds with Mr. Black Bear. Instead, here is the coward’s way to simply avoid unwanted bears in Banff National Park.

If you see a Grizzly, bear right.

Be noisy. North Americans usually have this one covered anyway. If you are feeling nervous, just start clapping or shouting. It is a well known fact that bears can’t stand Madonna’s music so a bit of Vogue may save your life.

Pets: This is one of the most common ways to get in trouble with a bear. Whereas humans go out of their way to avoid Grizzlies, dogs do the opposite. The animals can smell each other and will seek each other out. Two choices: Sacrifice the dog or leave him at home.

Be Careful with your food: It wouldn’t be nice to start cooking a beautiful meal at an obesity convention. Along the same vein, it’s best not to tempt bears by leaving food around the campsite. There are many stories about people who have enjoyed a good meal over the fire followed by 42 beers and woke up with a looming shadow over the tent. Clean the place before the 42 beers.

Common sense: Bears may be big, strong, intelligent, fast and furry but they are generally not looking for trouble. Like an ex girlfriend, you will both try and avoid each other and the best way to go about it is to keep your eyes open and use a bit of common sense. Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world and you are guaranteed to have a great time especially if you can avoid that ex-girlfriend!

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