By nature of its location, nestled in a valley at the head of the Howe Sound and surrounded by the Coast Range Mountains, Squamish is prime bear country and we can always expect to see bears.
We have abundant areas of early seral stage habitat such as clear cuts, forest openings and fields and if you combine that with the salmon bearing streams, marine beach habitat (estuary) and forested ecosystems, you have an area that can support a healthy population of bears.
In order to reduce/prevent conflicts, it is essential to keep bears moving through the community and to not entice them to stop and investigate; the more garbage and non-natural food we allow bears access to, the fatter and happier they will be. The fatter and happier they are, the more cubs they produce and before you know it...we have a population of human food conditioned bears wandering our streets.
In 2004, due to a natural food shortage and a subsequent increase in human/bear conflicts, 27 bears were destroyed. The high number of conflict issues and resultant destructions was impetus for the District of Squamish to initiate the Bear Aware/Bear Smart Program.
The mandate of the Bear Aware Program is to reduce human/bear conflict issues through education, innovation and co-operation. The goal is to reduce the rate and intensity of human/bear conflicts while increasing public safety and to reduce the number of bears needlessly destroyed each year.
To report a bear sighting or encounter, call the Conservation Officer Service: Report All Poachers and Polluters 1-877-952 7277 (RAPP) Cellular Dial: #7277.
A major effort is underway to bear-proof Squamish. The Bear Aware Adopt-a-Can program encourages local business owners and community members to purchase bear resistant garbage cans for the community.
By removing garbage from bears we increase public safety for all, contribute to a cleaner environment, decrease the number of bears needlessly destroyed and encourage bears to remain wild.
All purchased containers will receive a sticker acknowledging the adoptee's generosity.
For more information on how you can Adopt-A-Can please contact the Bear Aware office at: 604-815-5066.
Bear Aware Fruit Tree Picking:
If you have fruit trees and are unable to harvest your fruit, Bear Aware would like to help. Through the Community Harvest Program volunteers will come and pick the fruit and re-distribute it within the community. Or, if you would like to volunteer your time to assist Bear Aware with fruit picking, please contact the Bear Aware office at: 604-815-5066.