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Tourists bluff charged by bear

BANFF – Two tourists who weren’t carrying bear spray had a close encounter with a bruin on the Cory Pass trail in Banff National Park last weekend.

BANFF – Two tourists who weren’t carrying bear spray had a close encounter with a bruin on the Cory Pass trail in Banff National Park last weekend.

On Sunday (July 29), a man was hiking well ahead of his partner when he came across a bear about 20 to 30 metres down the trail, but the bear bluff charged to within three metres.

“He saw the bear and it saw him and the bear closed the distance to what he recalls to be three metres – so very close,” said Bill Hunt, resource conservation manager for Banff National Park.

“The bear stopped about the same time a female hiker had arrived. The two of them started backing up and talking to the bear and the bear took off.”

The hikers couldn’t identify if it was a black bear or a grizzly bear.

Hunt said it sounds like a classic surprise encounter.

“The bear just reacted and realized what the situation was and backed away,” he said.

Resource conservation staff went to investigate if there was a kill site or anything else that may cause the bear to linger in the area.

“They didn’t find any signs of a kill and there’s nothing to indicate the bear remained in the area,” said Hunt.

Hunt said the couple was not carrying bear spray.

“This is a great situation where they might have been able to deploy bear spay and create space for him and his partner,” he said.

Meanwhile, a black bear that charged hikers last week forced closure of Centennial Ridge and Coal Mine trails in Kananaskis Country. It includes Centennial Ridge Trail from Ribbon Creek trailhead to the summit of Mount Allan as well as Coal Mine Trail.

Alberta Parks staff said both grizzly bears and black bears are in the area feeding on buffalo berries.

To avoid a bear encounter, make plenty of noise and travel in groups; be aware of your surroundings and look and listen for bears and their sign; keep pets on a leash and carry bear spray.