UPDATE: The Sproatt Alpine Network (Into the Mystic, Lord of the Squirrels, Happy Hour and With a Twist) and Rainbow Lake Trail are now closed, along with Skywalk, Kevin’s Homerun, Screaming Cat Lake and Upper 19 Mile Creek trails closed until further notice. See most recent update.
The Conservation Officer Service (COS) in consultation with Ministry of Forestry, Land and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and area biologists have closed the following trails:
- Skywalk South
- Skywalk North
- Kevin's Homerun Trail
- Screaming Cat Lake Trail
- Upper 19 Mile Creek Trail
The closure is being implemented following two recent instances of human wildlife conflict with a confirmed grizzly bear in the area.
Grizzly bears are extremely sensitive to human presence. They can detect people from kilometers away and alter their behaviours. This puts increased pressure on these bears, and complicates efforts to gain enough weight, prior to denning.
The trail closures are being implemented to:
- reduce the likelihood of injury or death due to a conflict with this grizzly bear
- allow the bear to feed in and travel through its natural feeding areas without having to continually modify its behaviour
- prevent the bear from becoming habituated to people, which could potentially increase conflicts
- prevent the bear from becoming human food conditioned should a hiker or camper accidentally or intentionally feed the bear
The closure will remain in effect until further notice, but is intended to be closed until the bears go to den.
The Flank trails will remain open for now, but the COS is urging people to use caution. Grizzly bears have very large natural ranges and may be using this area.
To reduce the chance of wildlife conflicts and protect yourself in an encounter, especially with a grizzly bear, be aware and informed, and carry bear spray.
Residents and visitors are also reminded to keep dogs on leash in Whistler—it’s the law and helps to prevent potentially dangerous conflict with wildlife.