A road has been closed to vehicles in a popular Coquitlam regional park due to high bear activity.
Effective today (June 7), Metro Vancouver has closed the Oliver Road entrance to Minnekhada Regional Park.
This closure is expected to last about four months, according to park officials, and comes as the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program map reports sightings in the area with berry bushes as the attractant.
According to Metro Vancouver officials, the Oliver Road entrance has been closed due to the “high potential for negative human-bear interactions.”
However, the park remains open and accessible via the Quarry Road entrance.
The closure comes as bear sightings have ramped up throughout the area, with dozens of sightings of bears reported to the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program in recent days.
Closing Oliver Road, however, is not an unusual step.
The road is typically shut in the summer at the start of blueberry season to avoid bear “jams” with people stopping on the narrow road to take photos of the bruins.
Last year, though, the road wasn’t closed until July 8, making this year’s closure an earlier preventative measure.
On its website, Metro Vancouver reminds visitors that bears “are wild, unpredictable and can run faster than humans over any type of ground. If you see a bear, stay back 100 metres. Never approach a bear; change your route or plans to avoid them.”
It recommends, pedestrians and cyclists stay calm and slowly back away if they encounter a bear and should be prepared to retrace their route if they encounter a bruin along the park road.
“Bears that become comfortable near people can be more dangerous to humans or may be destroyed. Negative bear-human interactions may result in closures other areas within the park,” the website notes.
The park is popular with hikers and photographers and has been open since 1981.
Other Tips for walkers or hikers at Minnekhada 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