Bear activity forces closure of road into popular Metro Vancouver park for the summer

Jul 3 2019, 5:41 pm

A road used to access a popular park in Coquitlam has been closed to all vehicles for the rest of the summer, due to bear activity in the area.

According to Metro Vancouver, Oliver Road in Minnekhada Regional Park will be closed for the next three months.

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Those who are still looking to access the park are advised to use the Quarry Road entrance.

During this time, officials said that ongoing bear monitoring will take place to determine if there is a need for any additional closures.

The regional park has “extensive bear habitat and the animals that live here are wild and unpredictable,” said Metro Vancouver. “Negative bear-human interactions can increase when bears lose their fear of humans.”

Metro Vancouver has also released a list of tips to help people be Bear Aware and avoid these types of “negative” interactions.

“If you see a bear stay back at least 100 metres,” they advise. “If you encounter a bear, stay calm and slowly back away.”

Other bear safety tips include:

  • Make noise as you go
  • Avoid wearing headphones
  • Keep children close to you
  • Watch for signs of bears
  • Never approach or feed a bear
  • Keep your dog leashed
  • Do not leave any garbage

In May of this year, 97 black bears were killed in BC, according to BC Conservation Officer Services.

In a recent interview with Daily Hive, North Shore Black Bear Society Executive Director Christine Miller said there’s a lot of “misunderstandings about black bears, and people who sort of promote fear that’s not accurate in the community,” explaining that the animals aren’t out there “looking for” people or pets — just accessible food.

“A lot of us live right next to the forest and so they sort of share the land with us and if we are not diligent with our household waste, and if we have bird feeders out or whatever, we’re inviting them close to people’s homes — but black bear attacks are extremely rare,” Miller said.