Example of an area closure sign
© Parks Canada/Doreen McGillis/KNP Slide Collection
The Bear-Human Conflict Management Plan provides direction and guidelines for bear/human conflict management in the Rocky Mountain national parks (Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, and Waterton Lakes). Its primary intent it to define appropriate courses of action to minimize the probability of bear/human conflicts while protecting and maintaining viable populations of black and grizzly bears. Many of these actions focus on visitor management strategies. An emphasis on communication helps ensure that management actions are well understood.
Plans for all mountain parks area based on consistent principles and approach. They have also been discussed with major stakeholders and outside experts.
Following are regulatory signs you may see while visiting the mountain national parks with a brief explanation on situations that might trigger their use under the Bear-Human Conflict Management Plan.
Area Closed sign© Parks Canada
Area Closures are used to help ensure visitor safety and to protect wildlife or habitat. With respect to carnivores, some examples of when a Closure may be used include:
- A sow grizzly with cubs is using habitat in a particular area
- A dead animal (carrion) is in the area and a bear(s) may be feeding on it
- A bear trap or snare has been set in an area for research or management purposes
- A need to protect critical habitat, e.g. a wildlife corridor, a den site, a seasonally important feeding area
- A bear has shown repeated, aggressive behaviour.
Access Restricted sign© Parks Canada
A Restricted Activity Order may be used when there are restrictions on the kind of human access allowed in an area, e.g.: access allowed only to horse users and not hikers; access allowed only to hikers in a specified group size to reduce the chance of a human-bear encounters; access allowed only to hard-sided camping units in a campground with a high level of bear activity.
Caution - Bear in area - Travel with caution sign© Parks Canada
A Bear Warning allows backcountry visitors to make an informed decision about entering an area where elevated bear activity has been reported, e.g. visitors may choose to hike elsewhere to reduce disturbance to bears and to increase their own safety.