Yep, it’s that time of year again. The snow is going (even though some days it’s still coming too) and the skunk cabbage is starting to poke through, so spring is definitely on its way. And what happens when spring comes? When the weather warms? Well in Whistler, the black bears come out of course!
Whistler is home to over forty bears who cozy up for the winter around November’s first snowfalls, and come out when the weather warms in March (or, depending on the year late February or early April…). Children in Whistler are almost immune to the sightings of bears and cubs along their route to school in the spring. While giving them a wide berth, as they have been taught, they pretty much continue on, chatting and jostling each other.
Whistler’s long-time local, Brandi Higgins can recall, “walking up Lorimer Road Hill with a girlfriend. We were both pushing strollers; our babies nestled inside, gossiping away. We look up and see a black bear across the street, munching on new shoots in on the side of the road. And we keep walking and talking. And then I looked up again and turned to my friend. “My mother would be freaking out right now if she knew I had her grandchild this close to a bear!” We both laughed, and kept going. That’s local Whistlerites for you!”
Though the locals may be bear immune, to many visitors and transient workers of Whistler, seeing bears roaming on the Valley Trail or golf course can be a rather exciting event! However, the best places to spot a bear in Whistler are the win-win situations that don’t put the bear or the viewer at risk. Bear Viewing Tours give you the chance to view Whistler’s famous black bears and cubs in their natural habitat. While on a tour, you’ll learn about Whistler’s bear population and the flora and fauna they depend upon from experienced guides and researchers. Michael Allen and Kathy Jenkins boast a wealth of knowledge and being toured by them makes for an incredible outdoor learning experience!
Thanks to Michael Allen, Kathy Jenkins and the Bear Smart Society, Whistler locals and visitors are well aware of their furry fellow valley dwellers and how to be good neighbours. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that we always are good neighbours. Garbage left out unsecured, bbq’s not cleaned, pet food left outside, compost left on the side of the road. A little bit of laziness on our part can mean the end of them. While the RCMP use bear bangers when possible, more bears are put down each year than necessary because they have become “nuisance” bears, too habituated to human habitats.
So, please, let’s be careful - keep our garbage inside or in the secure bear smart garbage containers found around Whistler, and keep ourselves and our furry neighbours’ safe, so as to continue to enjoy living in peaceful coexistence.
For more information on Whistler Bear Tours, talk to our friendly staff at Whistler Reservations. Toll-free 1-877-932-2280.