Watching for Bears on Purpose
Anyone with common sense knows that bears aren’t to be messed with. Black bears, brown bears and Grizzlies are all found throughout North America, especially Canada. Campers are often warned to protect their campsite’s food against raids and the general consensus for all people is that if you find yourself in the close company of a wild bear, get out of there as quickly and inconspicuously as possible.
However, if you find yourself in the city of Whistler, in the western province of British Columbia, you can sign up to go on a bear sightseeing tour. Climbing into a 4X4 truck, with the accompaniment of a trained professional, you can traverse the trails where black bears are common and even tour some empty nest sites. Both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are home to at least 50 black bears, who are notably less prone to attacks than their Grizzly cousins (although they should still never be approached). Researchers have spent their entire careers in the area, studying these creatures with the aim of conserving their habitat.
In fact, the village of Whistler has become world renowned for its methods of dealing with any black bears which come into the city limits in search of food. Many of the local bears have learned to open car doors or hold gates; most are relatively docile and the official city response is to use behavior modification to deter bears as well as teach the locals how to properly secure their homes and garbage cans. Removal is a last resort and killing is highly frowned upon. This admirable approach, which preserves both species’ quality of life and shows respect to all parties, has been studied by other communities worldwide who also have bear problems.
Armed with extensive knowledge of how black bears behave, experts will take you on a guided sightseeing tour. You can also spot eagles, owls, deer, coyote, and the hoary marmots whose whistling calls gave Whistler its name. Accommodation in Whistler is available year-round for bookings, and lodges like Stoney Creek Lagoons will put you right in the middle of a myriad of fun family activities in these gorgeous mountains.