It’s springtime in the mountains: Grizzly bears are waking up

Okay, now it’s officially spring in the Canadian Rockies.

At least according to bear-o’clock.

Banff National Park in Alberta had its first confirmed sighting of a grizzly bear yesterday.

“It looks like it’s a late start for bears this year,” the park noted on Facebook Wednesday. “We had our first confirmed sighting of a grizzly bear near Castle Junction along the Bow Valley Parkway today (last year was March 5).”

While there’s still lots of snow in the mountain parks, hikers are starting to join the backcountry skiers and snowshoers, so wardens are reminding people to play safe in bear country.

“Please remember to leash dogs, be aware of your surroundings and ensure your bear spray didn’t freeze over the winter. Carry bear spray with you at all times on the trail, and know how to use it. Spring has arrived in Banff National Park!”

It’s usually a little warmer to the west, across the continental divide into British Columbia. And, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s resident grizzly, Boo, woke up a little before the calendar welcomed spring.

The bear came out of hibernation on March 19, the day before the Spring Equinox. But for the orphaned bear, which lives in a massive enclosure at the Golden-area ski resort, it was actually a little later than usual.

“I woke earlier last year due to its mild winter season,” the bear’s keepers posted in Facebook. “It’s being noticed us bears are rousing earlier each year. The latest I’ve denned till has been April 13th.”

Main Photo Brian Spearbury/Parks Canada/Facebook

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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