The resort community of Whistler is home to the Get Bear Smart Society (GBS), 10,000 residents, more than two million annual visitors, about 50 black bears, as well as a few grizzlies in the surrounding area. This is where the rubber hits the road.
For over two decades, GBS has taken a leadership role in Whistler’s ongoing transformation to become 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, environmental organizations and concerned residents.
In particular, GBS has invested heavily in public education, conducting extensive outreach campaigns, writing informative columns in community newspapers, and designing and erecting interpretive signage. GBS staff and volunteers get out in the community to give public and corporate BearSmart presentations. We ensure law enforcement officials and bear managers are using non-lethal bear management options. In collaboration with the Whistler’s Bear Advisory Committee, we also work on waste management issues and bylaw enforcement.
Public support for our program has been extraordinary. 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.
Although Whistler is an official BearSmart community, there is still much room for improvement as well as ongoing programming. The results achieved in Whistler over the years illustrate 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.
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.
No vehicle to get your trash to the compactor site? These services are available in Whistler, BC for a fee:
Georges’ War Wagon – Refuse Removal
For: household garbage, or construction debris
Call: Mike Cook at 604-721-4875 (cell)
RMOW Solid Waste Bylaw
Whistler Specific Resources
Download brochures and flyers for home, recreation or your business. These are specifically designed for Whistler residents, businesses and visitors.
Bear Smart Whistler Resident’s Guide – download
Composting in Bear Country – download
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.
Business & other commercial applications:
Bear Smart Best Practices Guide for Whistler Businesses – download folding brochure.
Bear Smart Program for Restaurants
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
- Solid Waste Bylaw No. 2139, 2017 and Solid Waste Amendment Bylaw No. 2175, 2018.
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.