Getting BEAR SMART is a shared responsibility

Bear Smart Whistler


The resort community of Whistler is home to the Get Bear Smart Society (GBS), 10,000 residents, more than two million annual visitors, and about 100 black bears. This is where the rubber hits the road.

Over the last two decades, GBS has taken a leadership role in Whistler’s ongoing transformation into a Bear Smart community. GBS has worked collaboratively with town officials, provincial conservation officers and bear managers, community and business leaders, waste management service providers, the RCMP, bear biologists, and concerned residents.

In particular, GBS has invested heavily in public education, conducting extensive advertising campaigns, writing informative columns in community newspapers, and designed and erected interpretive signage. GBS staff and volunteers get out in the community to give public and corporate BearSmart presentations and train law enforcement officials and bear managers how to use non-lethal bear management options such as aversive conditioning. In collaboration with the Whistler Bear Working Group, we also work on waste management issues and bylaw enforcement.

Public support for our program has been overwhelming. Although Whistler is an official BearSmart community, there is still much room for improvement. The work done in Whistler over the years illustrates what can be accomplished by implementing BearSmart policies and practices.

This makes Whistler a leader in the growing movement to establish BearSmart communities wherever humans and bears co-exist.

What’s New: Whistler becomes an official BearSmart Community

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) successfully completed the criteria established by the BC Ministry of Environment to become a Bear Smart Community in September of 2011. British Columbia’s Bear Smart Community Program was developed to be a proactive response to increased numbers of conflicts between people and bears. The program has two phases: the problem analysis phase and the solution/implementation phase. Read more here.

Got Garbage?

Compactor sites at Function Junction and Nesters take trash, recycling of all kinds and compost. There’s also a Re-Use-It Centre at the FJ site, as well as a Re-Build-It Centre near the end of Alpha Lake Road. For more information, click here.

garbage-trail-bear2No vehicle to get your trash to the compactor site? These services are available in Whistler, BC for a fee:

Fifty North Solutions
– waste, recycling & compost
Call: 604-907-3177

Georges’ War Wagon – Refuse Removal 
– household garbage, or construction debris
Call: 604-938-4000 work or 604-932-2758 home

Whistler Garbage Pick-up
Call for an appointment: 604-698-5202


Download brochures and flyers for home, play or your business. These are specifically designed for Whistler residents, businesses and visitors. Most of our guides can be printed on 8.5 x 11″ paper; front and back; and then folded twice. Please note that some of the foreign language brochures (German, French, Spanish & Japanese) need to be printed on 8.5 x 14″ paper. Flyer-style guides can be printed on 8.5x 11″ paper.


Bear Smart Whistler Resident’s Guide – download

Wildlife Smart Landscaping for Whistler – A Resident’s Guide – download folding brochure; or flyer-style. Bear food plant list.

Composting in Bear Country – download


Bear Smart Whistler Visitor’s Guide – download in English; Deutsch (German); Nederlands (Dutch); 日本 (Japanese); française (French) and español (Spanish) (most foreign languages need to be printed on 8.5 x 14″ paper; except Dutch).

Bear Viewing: Where to find bears and how to behave while viewing them. Download a brochure here.


Bear Smart Guide for Campers – download in English; Deutsch (German); française (French) and Nederlands (Dutch). Printable version for campgrounds 3 flyers per 8.5 x 11″ paper – download in English; Deutsch (German); française (French) and Nederlands (Dutch).

Camping in Bear Country – download full colour brochure, printed on 8.5 x 11 front & back, folded twice.

Hotel Concierges:

Bear Viewing Info for Concierges and extra teaching points.

Business & other commercial applications:

Bear Smart Best Practices Guide for Whistler Businesses – download folding brochure.

Bear Smart Program for Restaurants

Wildlife Smart Landscaping for Whistler – A Professional’s Guide. Bear food plant list.

Bear-proofing Garbage Enclosures – download.

  • Permit Process Flow Chart
  • Whistler Garbage Enclosure Design Guidelines
  • Wildlife Resistant Container Guidelines
  • Development Permit Application & Checklist
  • Building Permit Application & Checklist
  • Garbage Disposal and Wildlife Attractants Bylaw No. 1861, 2008

Bear Smart Construction Site Management Strategy – Staying safe while building in bear country – a bear smart guide for constructions sites in Whistler – download.

Guidelines for Bear Smart Buildings – Suggestions and regulations on building structures in bear country – download.