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Bear Spray

England
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72 posts
120 reviews
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Bear Spray

We are hoping to do some of the more popular trails when we visit later this month.

Is it still advisable to carry bear spray on the busier trails e.g. Parker Ridge?

Many thanks.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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1. Re: Bear Spray

If it's a busy trail, you don't need to worry about bear spray (with the exception of the Lake Minnewanka trail beyond Stewart Canyon, where it may be required by Parks Canada).Of course, if you're doing a trail that is normally busy very early in the day, when you're the only one on it, you might want to bring the bear spray then.

I haven't done Parker Ridge myself, but my impression is that it is quite popular..

Edited: 11 July 2012, 14:26
Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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2. Re: Bear Spray

The Parker Ridge trail is quite popular, and the trail doesn't lead anywhere other than to the top of the ridge for views (it's not like it's in a corridor area that animals would use to move from one area to another). It's also quite an open trail for the most part, so it's less likely that you would suddenly come upon and surprise a bear, so for these reasons, I wouldn't worry about having bear spray to hike the Parker Ridge trail. That said, however, it doesn't mean it's outside the realm of possibility to meet a bear there (or anywhere .... the whole park is "bear country"). Bear spray is not a substitute for hiking in a "bear aware" manner - that is, staying aware of your surroundings and watching for wildlife, making noise etc.; it just gives you a means of defense in the extremely unlikely event that you encounter an aggressive bear. I think it's main value (for me, anyway - I hike with it all the time) is peace of mind; it makes you feel you are safer. I don't know anyone who has ever used it on a bear, actually, although I know a couple of people who have used it on elk (which you will not find at Parker Ridge).

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Banff National Park
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3. Re: Bear Spray

I've seen a grizzly on Parker Ridge, but it was very early in the morning.

Like krp, we actually carry bear spray everywhere. After all, what's the downside? But if you're on a trail where you are quite sure that there will be several people within your sight and within talking distance at all times, then the chances of a bear encounter go from minuscule to even lower than minuscule. Parker Ridge in the middle of a July day is likely to be like that.

It's *all* bear country. For example, one of the trails near Banff is paved for wheelchair and service access, and I sometimes see people roller-blading on it with their earbuds in at dusk, because to them it looks urban. Yet it's frequented by grizzlies for much of the summer.

salsa savant
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1,143 posts
12 reviews
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4. Re: Bear Spray

How awesome to see a grizzly on Parker Ridge! We did not see it but apparently there was a grizzly in the valley of the Iceline Trail (in Yoho) while we were hiking. At our Naiset cabins in Assiniboine Park, just 100 yrds from the huts we did see a grizzly. Ya just never know where they are going to pop up. I don't know if the bear spray would stop a grizz but it allows me to put one foot in front of the other.

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Lake Louise
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5. Re: Bear Spray

If you were coming to our region specifically to hike I would recommend picking up some bear spray. If you are coming mostly to explore and make short adventures on popular trails, I would say no. That being said, while it would be rare it is always possible to run into wildlife 5 minutes from the parking lot, beside the road and out on the trail. If you are on a trail and it's quiet - you want to make some noise. It's an easy, smart thing to do to prevent running into any "wildlife" including bears and elk. Don't be nervous - it would be rare on a popular trail. Our point is that it is always possible.

Oklahoma
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435 posts
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6. Re: Bear Spray

I had read that bear spray is illegal in Canada. Obviously I read wrong.

Is is permissible to carry it across the border from the US?

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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7. Re: Bear Spray

Pepper spray has to be labelled as bear deterrent in Canada to be legal. Yes, you can carry it over a border into the US - IF you are going by land. You can't take it on airplanes.

England
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8. Re: Bear Spray

Many thanks for all your help.

9. Re: Bear Spray

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