west-shore-hiking-bear
(Provided by Westshore RCMP)

Westshore RCMP are reminding hikers to be prepared after an incident occurred this past weekend involving a family and a bear.

At approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 3rd, the West Shore RCMP’s bike unit were conducting Search and Rescue training in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park when they encountered a distraught family, which included two young children.

The family were hiking when they encountered a bear and lost their orientation; luckily, the family ran into officers and were escorted back to their vehicle, safely.

Westshore RCMP said they have received an increase in calls from lost and disorientated hikers this year.

And since officers are so rarely on hiking trails, Westshore RCMP are encouraging hikers to prepare for the elements when out hiking this summer and have provided some common hiking tips to help keep you and our wildlife safe this summer:

  • Always tell someone where you are going and which route you are planning to take;
    If you are new to the trail systems, take a map with you or snap a photo of the trail system to keep on your phone;
  • If you are planning a long hike, pack a power bank in your backpack for your cellular phone;
  • Pack first aid supplies – even a small pack is good as you never know what you may encounter;
  • Water;
  • Secure all food and attractants to remove temptation to wildlife;
  • Check the weather before you leave;
  • Carry a whistle, should you need assistance it carries much farther than your voice;
  • If you are in bear country, watch for scat and digs (poop). If you see any, turn around and find a new path;
  • Be loud to let bears know you are around, they will avoid you if they are able to;
    Keep small children close, if they run it could trigger the bear to attack;
  • If you do see a bear, make a calm loud noise, (non threatening) and back away slowly, leaving the area.

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