Beware off and respect Wildlife., Banff National Park
Much of the wildlife is harmless..... however, don't try to get too close to any of the animals. They may seem tame - but don't test it! And please don't feed them. Not only is it harmful for them, it is illegal.
You are likely to encounter wildlife at some point. It is common to see cars slowing down or pulling over to take in the next nature show!
I have been fortunate to see wildlife on the following occassions:
- a bear cub (so cute!) wandering around a mainstreet in Canmore. The ranger came and rescued him and took him home!
- caribou walking through my campsite, and on another occassion grazing along the side of a quiet road.
- sheep crossing the road near my campsite
- a moose from a distance while I was driving on the highway
- and once.... a bear wandering along the treeline outside of a campground. You needn't be alarmed! There are rangers who keep a close watch and will post a sign of any bear spottings. If the situation were to be of a concern, the campground would be closed.
*** While hiking, I keep a can of bear spray with me. In all my 5 years of hiking, I've never once encountered a bear on any of the trails.
For updates on bear activity on trails, you can recieve reports at:
Needless to say, there are dangerous animals. But it's amazing how many tourists go running up behind an elk to take a picture or get really close to a bear cub.
Aside from the obvious, the not-so-obvious aspect of keeping the park safe for everyone is to limit the human-wildlife interaction. As a tourist, you should leave impacting the park as little as possible. So, do NOT feed the wildlife, USE the bear-proof garbage bins. Cannot tell you how annoyed I get when idiots think it's cute to throw food at animal to watch them eat.
Remember you are in a Government controlled Park. Observe speed signs, be careful of the animals, do not pick flowers or go off the assigned paths so as not to damage the plants or flowers that take years to grow. Remember the animals are WILD BE CAREFUL around them. In September be aware you may have a snow storm. We did on the 25th of Sept.
Visible throughout the park are reminders that wild animals aren't pets and shouldn't be approached, fed, petted, or ridden (I made up the last one). This may seem like common sense, but you'd be amazed by the number of people who display the lack of it.
There is always a danger of wildlife jumping in front of your vehicle . There are these animal overpasses set up and they help.
There are bearproof bins located in and around the National Parks. Please do use them for any litter, but especially food.
When going down from Healey Creek Campground to Porcupine Campground you should be aware of bears. We saw several bear tracks on our way down. Bears seemed to be digging for roots in this area!
This is an instance when a picture is worth a thousand words. This guy (the tourist, not the elk) is a complete dolt and deserves a hefty fine (maybe $1000 to start).