A summer update from Revelstoke Bear Aware

By Janette Vickers
Revelstoke Bear Aware Coordinator

Revelstoke Bear Aware has been working with Parks Canada to develop three new maps for the City of Revelstoke and surrounding area. The Google Earth Map is an interactive tool for residents to view bear sightings and associated bear attractants in our community. Currently, the map includes reported bear sightings for 2009, 2010 and 2011. This map is updated weekly and can be viewed on the Revelstoke Bear Aware website at http://www.revelstokebearaware.org.

Thirty-seven reports of bears in town and the surrounding area have been made to the Provincial RAPP line and Revelstoke Bear Aware so far this season, with bears gaining access to garbage, fruit, birdseed and livestock.

Two other maps were also developed with the support of Parks Canada. A new 2009-2010 Bear Hazard Map has been made, which includes reported bear sightings and associated bear attractants including garbage, fruit trees, livestock, birdfeeders, grain, pet food, as well as destroyed bears. The Map of Reported Sightings of Bears in Garbage in the City of Revelstoke from 2005 thru 2010 was created to assist the City’s Waste Collection Strategy committee in determining the location of reported bears in garbage only and identifies areas with high potential for human-bear conflict.

All three maps provide residents with valuable information about bear activity in our community and can be accessed at revelstokebearaware.org.

Garbage is the No. 1 bear attractant.  Currently, the City‘s Garbage Collection Bylaw No.1759 restricts garbage to being placed on the curb between the

Putting your garbage out at the curb the night before your regular trash pickup could win you one of these attractive yellow stickers warning that you're contributing to the city's No. 1 bear attractant problem. Photo courtesy of Revelstoke Bear Aware

hours of 7 am and 7 pm on the day of collection.

To conduct garbage tagging, the Revelstoke Bear Aware Community Coordinator along with Ministry of Forests Resource Compliance Officers and volunteers go out the night before garbage day and tag garbage cans that have been placed on the curb. A bright yellow sticker is placed on the can that states “Garbage Attracts Bears, Store Containers Inside Until Collection Day.” Garbage tagging campaigns successfully educate residents about properly managing our No. 1 bear attractant.

While most residents adhere to the bylaw, some people place their garbage on the curb the night before pickup. A total of 76 garbage tags were handed out in Central Revelstoke, 20 in North Revelstoke and three in Arrow Heights this spring.

Revelstoke Bear Aware is planning another Garbage Tagging Campaign this fall for the South Revelstoke and the Big Eddy-Farwell garbage collection areas.

Got fruits and vegetables you won;t or can't use? Call Bear Aware and have them donated to The Gleaning Project to benefit the Community Connections Food Bank. Photo courtesy of Revelstoke Bear Aware

Revelstoke Bear Aware and the Community Connections Food Bank are preparing for the upcoming harvest season by reactivating the Gleaning Project, which gathers surplus fruits and vegetables from our community. This helps to reduce bear attractants as well as decrease potential human-bear conflicts.

Residents with excess fruit can contact Bear Aware to arrange for volunteers to harvest their fruit. The volunteers receive some of the fruit and the remaining fruit is donated to Community Connections Food Bank. The project also invites all residents to donate their extra fruit, berries and vegetables to the Food Bank. If you are away when your fruit is ripening or are unable to pick it yourself, please contact Bear Aware at 250-837-8624 or mailto:beaware@telus.net. To take part in The Gleaning Project, to view the new Google Earth Map, and for more information on how to manage bear attractants, visit http://www.revelstokebearaware.org.

To report bear sightings or problem bears please call the RAPP Line at 1-877-7277.