We share natural spaces with bears
Regional parks and greenways provide significant habitat and travel corridors for wildlife, including black bear (Ursus americanus).
Bears can be regular visitors in regional parks or just be passing through.
Understanding bear behaviour helps keep people safe and bears wild.
Reduce the risk of bear encounters by keeping your distance and never feeding bears.
Keep bears wild – and people safe.
Here are some simple things you can do to help.
When on the trail
- Be alert
- Hike in groups of two or more
- Make noise (talk, sing or clap)
- Keep dogs leashed
- Pack out all your garbage – including apple cores, banana peels and any organic waste
- Never feed or leave food for a bear
- Never leave food unattended
- Store food in bear-proof lockers (if available)
- Put all trash in bear-proof garbage bins
- Dispose of fish guts properly.
- Puncture the bladder and drop fish guts in deep or running water.
Watch for bear signs (tracks, scat, torn-up logs or overturned rocks) and leave the area if signs are fresh.
Bears are thought to have the best sense of smell of any animal on earth. How good is it?
- An average dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be about 100 times better than a human’s; a bloodhound’s is 300 times better.
- A bear’s sense of smell is estimated to be 2,100 times better than a human’s.
That means bears can smell food (and garbage) from at least 1.5 km away.
If you see a bear – give it space!
- Stay at least 100 m away from a bear
- Give bears an escape route
- Do not yell, scream or run
- Stop, stay calm and remember: bear attacks are rare
- Speak in a calm voice to let the bear know that you are human and slowly wave your arms
- Back away slowly
Bad habits are hard to change
- Bears that learn to associate food with human activities often lose their natural avoidance of humans. They become bolder and more aggressive in seeking food, putting themselves and people at risk.
- Help keep bears wild and people safe by making sure that you don’t leave any food or garbage in the park that might tempt a hungry bear.
- Report any bear encounters to Metro Vancouver Regional Parks at 604-432-6200 or
- To report any wildlife-human interaction where public safety may be at risk, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.