BC Parks Wildlife Viewing Platform misunderstood

The objective is to maintain bear ‘refugia’ where shy bears can choose to forage relatively undisturbed by people.

Dear Editor,

I am not on social media nor do I want to enter the quagmire of current discussion around bear/people problems in the lower valley. However, as someone who has been involved with BC Parks wildlife viewing platform within Tweedsmuir Park for four years, I feel compelled to correct some of the information in the recent on-line survey.

The viewing platform is operated from Sept 1 – 30 (not August 15-October 15) and, far from being limited to eight people, the objective is to encourage the bear viewing public to use the platform, rather than wander throughout the Atnarko corridor, endangering their own safety and stressing bears.

The scientific rationale behind the platform has been explained in regular Coast Mountain news articles, notices on community bulletin boards and on the BC Parks website. The April 2014 report referenced in the on-line survey sets out the management direction very clearly. Along much of the Atnarko River, the objective is to maintain bear ‘refugia’ where shy bears can choose to forage relatively undisturbed by people.

Where Hwy #20 gives people ready access to the river, the objective is to increase the predictability of where bears are likely to encounter people – hence, the electric-fenced platform. This not only improves safety for people but also reduces (not increases) stress on bears, leaving them the option to forage in these areas – or not.

The on-line survey made frequent use of the term ‘habituated bears’. Bears biologists make a clear distinction between habituated bears (who tolerate the presence of people) and food conditioned bears (who associate food with humans or their infrastructure).  Many of the Atnarko bears may be people habituated but they are not food conditioned – and we are all very careful to ensure they do not become so.

We have lived along the Atnarko River for 13 years. While bears wander through our property on a regular basis, never once have we had a ‘bear problem’. Why not? Because we are very careful with all garbage and we manage our compost properly.

Professional opinion is clear on this point. The primary factor in bear/people problems within settled communities is bears being attracted to non-natural food sources, like garbage and unpicked fruit. The most effective way to discourage bears from encroaching on people space is to ensure they don’t have the opportunity to access these non-natural food sources.

Sincerely,

Joan SawickiStuie

 

 

Just Posted

Ferry connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

BC Parks Student Ranger Program accepting applications for 2019 season

12 crews of four student rangers will work in regions throughout the province including Bella Coola.

Over $650,00 given to rural communities thanks to Rural Dividends

Five communities, including Williams Lake, are receiving $10,000 for project grants

Pregnant Cariboo firefighter tries to save own house from blaze

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Road report for Highway 20

Fog patches and slippery sections; Drive BC

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

“Ocean Falls – After the Whistle” now available at Kopas Store

Over the course of its life over seventy thousand people lived in Ocean Falls

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

Most Read