Highway corridors can, depending on weather, vegetation and other environmental factors attract bears. Unfortunately, this can result in bear/vehicle collisions, traffic jams due to bear viewing, and the habituation of bears to humans. The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (BC MoT) is working on decreasing bear activity along the Sea to Sky Highway in order to protect both humans and bears.
Identification and monitoring of areas with higher levels of bear activity are a part of this process. These areas pose a safety hazard as cars slow down and pull off to observe the bears, creating a “bear jam”. In some of these areas, no-stopping signs are being placed, in addition to the large bear warning signs that were installed last year. There are also locations where people are driving in to areas to view the bears at a closer distance. These areas are being blocked off to prevent bear/human interaction along the highway.
Decreasing the visibility of the bears from the highway is another measure being taken. Trees have been planted in order to screen areas of high bear activity from motorists. In other areas the BC MoT is attempting to reduce bear activity by planting non-attractive native plants in locations with high bear activity that will spread over time and shade out attractive clover and grasses.
Ongoing monitoring and research into new planting methods and seed mixtures which decrease bear and other wildlife activity along roadsides are a part of BC MoT’s future plans to deal with the bear issues along the Sea to Sky Highway.