Whistler is home to over 10,000 residents – around 50 are the furry, forest-dwelling kind. Black bears co-exist with humans in the Whistler community and can often be spotted by the public meandering around alpine trails or munching on roadside dandelions.
You can help keep bears and humans safe by following these tips if you happen to encounter a bear in Whistler this summer.
Join a WET Bear-Awareness Tour
Guided bear-watching tours are the safest options for viewing bears. Hike in bear territory, explore uninhabited bear dens and take an educational drive with one of our naturalists to look for black bears in a natural and safe environment.
Whistler Eco Tours run daily Bear Awareness tours with departures at 7 am and 6 pm. Tours start from $139.99 per person including hotel pickup/drop-off.
Admire From a Distance
If you happen to encounter a bear, ensure that you remain a safe distance away. When viewing bears, you should always stay 100m or more from the bear – the length of approximately 7 school busses.
It’s common to see bears grazing alongside highways and other busy roads around Whistler. However, viewing bears on the side of the road creates dangerous driving conditions for humans and causes stress for the bears. The Get Bear Smart Society advises not to honk at a bear – the sound can startle the bear right into traffic or distract other motorists. Stopping on the side of the road to view, take photos or feed wildlife can attract a fine under the BC Wildlife Act.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled on the Ski Slopes
Another place that bears are regularly seen are on the summer ski slopes. As the weather warms up, the bears retreat higher up the mountain to find food. Keep your eyes peeled for bears munching on the grass below you as you ride the Whistler Village Gondola or Blackcomb Gondola up the mountain.
Whistler Eco Tours has been bringing people back to nature since 2001. Specializing in guided canoe, kayaking, hiking and biking tours, WeT’s interpretive adventure guides will pass on their knowledge of local flora, fauna, history and geology. Contact us for more information or visit our website: www.whistlerecotours.com.