Adventure

Hikers in Banff Must Carry Spray

Wary of bears, park will fine violators

Officials from Canada's Banff National Park announced that hikers must carry bear spray through September 15 or face a $25,000 fine, a move that makes the park Canada's first to enact a bear-spray mandate. Parks Canada, concerned by a rising number of human-bear conflicts, will also require visitors to travel in groups of four or more. Earlier this month, a woman and her daughter startled a mother grizzly in Banff's Aylmer Pass, where hikers were attacked in 2001 and 2005. On Sunday, a grizzly mauled four teens who were hiking in Alaska, two-and-a-half weeks after a grizzly in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park killed a man on July 6. Experts now believe that bear spray, the main ingredient of which is pepper, is more effective in defending against bear attacks than a firearm. Perhaps because of drought conditions or broader environmental changes, 2011 has seen more human-bear interactions than normal. "[W]e want people to understand just how serious the situation is if they choose to go hiking there," says Steve Michel, Banff's wildlife-conflict specialist.

Read more at the Vancouver Sun

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