Bear Aware reminds public to secure attractants after two bears killed

Black bears have been spotted in every corner of Revelstoke. Hot spots are Columbia Park, Southside and downtown

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A bear eating garbage found outdoors. Photo: Lisa Boman

Submitted by Revelstoke Bear Aware

Black bears have been spotted in every corner of Revelstoke and are getting into all manner of attractants. As our town grows, and COVID-19 puts restrictions on Bear Aware programs, we need to remember to share information with our neighbours about reducing bear attractants.

We have had 2 bears killed already this year, with one being cited as the “most habituated bear” that the Conservation Officer had ever seen.

Bears have come into the valley and are searching for food after months of hibernation. The City, BC Conservation Officers, and Revelstoke Bear Aware agree that keeping garbage and fruit from bears continues to be essential.

Black bear hot spots include: Columbia Park, Southside and downtown. “Usually bears do not travel into downtown Revelstoke until later in the season. It is concerning to see bears in the downtown core this early. We may be in for a terribly busy bear year and I would hate to have a repeat of 2016, seeing 26 bears killed,” says Revelstoke Bear Aware Community Coordinator, Maggie Spizzirri.

It is increasingly important for people to ensure their garbage is secured. Secured garbage means storing your garbage indoors in a house, garage or shed. Behind a fence or under a deck is not secure as bears are very strong and great climbers.

As we do not have a BC Conservation Officer living in Revelstoke, it is not possible for any immediate action to take place. It is important for people to report where the bear activity is so that signage and door-to-door campaigns can be implemented. These initiatives have proven to work in the past but require the community to call Revelstoke Bear Aware and the City Bylaw Officers to report as soon as a bear is sighted.

Revelstoke Bear Aware has initiatives available for residents to make securing attractants easier than ever.

This year our Gleaning Project has been expanded to include an online Facebook group to encourage community fruit sharing – https://www.facebook.com/groups/revelstokefruitshare/. Instead of planting your own fruit tree consider joining the Gleaning Project for access to free fruit. Register as a volunteer through Bear Aware’s Gleaning Project and be notified when fruit is available. Revelstoke Bear Aware has partnered with the Community Connections Food Bank and Food Recovery program to ensure that all fruit is used in a positive manner. All inedible fruit will be donated to pig farmers making this a zero-waste project. All portions of the Gleaning Project are free to residents.

Do you have an old fruit tree that you no longer want? Consider taking advantage of our fruit tree removal assistance program.

If you do not have a secure location to store your garbage, such as a shed or closed garage, Revelstoke Bear Aware has launched a cost share program making the purchase of a bear certified resistant storage bin a bit less costly. Revelstoke residents receive $300 off any certified bear resistant storage bin purchased at Revelstoke Home Hardware.

Open and available garbage has been spotted throughout the city. If you spot any garbage or other wildlife attractants, the City of Revelstoke has a great reporting app called See Click Fix, http://revelstoke.ca/332/See-Click-Fix. A City Bylaw Officer will speak to the homeowners. The  City’s Garbage Collection and Wildlife Attractant Bylaw (#2178) requires all residents to secure their garbage and to not put out your garbage until 6am the morning of your garbage collection day.

Keep an eye on the Revelstoke Bear Aware Facebook page at www.facebook.com/revelstokebearaware for upcoming events, news about bear sightings, helpful information, and suggestions for keeping your garbage secured from bears.

 Last year a resident was attacked by a bear and needed his injuries to be treated in the hospital. Taking steps to reduce attractants will help keep our bears wild and our community safe.

Please visit www.revelstokebearaware.org for more information on managing bear attractants or contact Revelstoke Bear Aware at 250-837-8624.

 To report bear sightings or conflicts with bears please call the BC Conservation Service 24-hour hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

To report a bear attractant to the City Bylaw Officers, contact 250-837-2911 during office hours or email to bylawenforcement@revelstoke.ca.