(File photo)

Bring your opinions forward!

The Ministry of Forests is gathering feedback from the public regarding the Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework and the Commercial Bear Viewing Strategy.

The two online questionnaires can be accessed online until Friday, August 18th and you’re invited to share your thoughts on the bear strategies.

BC in particular has become a popular province for bear viewing and it has begun to raise concerns regarding human safety and the effect on bear populations. 

The Commercial Bear Viewing Strategy is meant to raise awareness in relation to this rising issue and provide clear policies and procedures when it comes to bear viewing. 

The Ministry of Forests wants to lessen the impact of bear viewing while also supporting sustainable wildlife tourism — which is where the survey and First Nations involvement comes in.

If you wish to learn more and participate in the drafted ideas regarding safe and sustainable commercial bear viewing, you can visit the following link: 

Commercial Bear-Viewing Strategy questionnaire.

The second survey is for the Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework and focuses specifically on bear conservation and will provide guidance for the consideration of grizzly bear habitats on a broad, provincial scale. 

You can participate in the stewardship framework survey here:

Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework questionnaire.

Through public engagement and consultation with First Nations, the Ministry of Forests hopes to strengthen environmental stewardship and better manage biodiversity to ensure bears continue to play an integral part in healthy ecosystems.

Additionally, they want to make sure that the viewing strategies will maintain healthy distance plans for bears spotted in the wild — ways in which wildlife photographers, for example, can enjoy the bears but avoid disturbing them.

Grizzly bears are known to have special cultural significance in British Columbia.

For instance, they play an important role in many First Nations cultures, as well as tourism and recreational activities. 

According to the Ministry of Forests, the current version of the framework and strategy is from around 85 First Nations and 17 wildlife organizations.

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