Important Backcountry Information
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* Group Access legally requires people entering the Moraine Lake backcountry area to travel in a tight group of four or more. Moraine Lake© Parks Canada/E. Coleman
GROUP ACCESS may be in effect
Check trail reports:
• 403.762.1550 (recording)
• Lake Louise Information Centre: 403.522.3833
Group Access applies to the following areas: Consolation Lakes, Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass, Wasatch Pass, Eiffel Lake, Wenkchemna Pass, Sheol and Paradise Valleys. (see map).
The Lakeshore and Rockpile trails at Moraine Lake do not fall under Group Access.
A tight group of hikers in Larch Valley© Parks Canada
Cyclists, Group Access does not affect the Moraine Lake Highline trail. A section of trail near Moraine Lake is closed mid to late summer when fruit bearing shrubs, such as buffaloberry (Shepherdia), ripen. Riders can get to the Moraine Lake road via a short connector trail.
Please bike in a bear aware manner at all times:
- Slow down, stay alert and scan ahead.
- Yell to let bears know you are approaching.
Paradise Valley Campground is closed under Group Access.
Horse users must travel with two or more riders in Paradise Valley under Group Access.
People travelling in the mountain parks should always follow bear safety precautions:
A sow grizzly and her two cubs travel the Eiffel Lake trail© Hartmut Michael
- Make noise: clap, sing, and call out.
- Travel as part of a tight group.
- Watch for fresh bear sign, e.g., tracks, scat, diggings and bear foods such as buffalo berries.
- Carry bear-spray and know how to use it.
- Consider leaving pets at home, or keep them on a leash at all times.
- Read Bears and People: a guide to conservation and safety on the trail, available on our web site or at park information centres.
Why Group Access?
A number of grizzly bears use habitat in the Moraine Lake area. Following several serious human-bear encounters, Area Closures lasting from five to ten weeks were required in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Group Access was piloted in 1999 to allow people to use the area, but also reduce encounters between people and bears. Initially, a group size of six or more was chosen based on bear incident data to achieve a high level of human safety.
After a review of Group Access protocols in the mountain national parks, and with input from bear expert Dr. Stephen Herrero, a decision to change to a tight group of four or more was made for 2007.
Why change to a group of four?
Research indicates larger groups are less likely to be attacked by a grizzly bear. When people hike in a tight group of four or more using standard bear safety precautions, acceptable human safety is achieved. A tight group means that the person in the front must be able to comfortably speak with the person at the back at all times.
Is Group Access working?
The number of aggressive bear encounters and the need to close this area to protect people and bears has decreased since Group Access has been used.
Area typically affected by Group AccessGroup Access Area© Parks CanadaClick here
to view a larger version of this map (151 KB).
(This image is larger than 450 pixels)PDF Version
On-the-ground @ Lake Louise
The Lake Louise area supports one of three concentrations of female grizzly bears in the park. Their survival is important to the health of the regional grizzly bear population. Group Access is one tool being used to improve conditions for people and wildlife as part of the Lake Louise Area Strategy under the park management plan.
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