Town of Canmore

Human - Wildlife Coexistence in the Bow Valley

There is concern among residents, elected officials, and wildlife managers that growth and development in the Bow Valley is leading to more frequent encounters between humans and wildlife.

We must reduce the risk to both humans and wildlife. This will require collaboration between various levels of government, wildlife behaviour experts, and the people that reside in and use the Bow Valley for recreation. No single agency or individual can solve this issue alone.

Canmore Mayor John Borrowman, Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen, and Banff Cochrane MLA Cameron Westhead brought representatives together from area municipalities, Parks Canada, and the Government of Alberta to form a Roundtable on Human Wildlife Coexistence. Throughout the fall of 2017, they met to develop a pdf terms of reference (481 KB) for a larger initiative to focus on processes and options to reduce human-wildlife conflict in the Bow Valley.

On May 31, 2018, the technical working group of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and subject matter experts released their report to:

              Identify trends and human-wildlife conflict mitigation programs 

              Make recommendations on reducing the frequency of human/wildlife conflict

              Suggest improvements to how each agency responds to incidents

              Identify ways to change public behaviour through increased awareness and transparency

Read the report here:  pdf Human Wildlife Coexistence Bow Valley Report (1.72 MB)

Technical Working Group Membership

  • Town of Banff – Chad Townsend, Environmental Coordinator
  • Town of Canmore – Michael Fark, General Manager Municipal Infrastructure
  • Jay Honeyman – Human Wildlife Conflict Biologist, AEP, South Saskatchewan Region
  • Brett Boukall – Senior Wildlife Biologist, Bow District, AEP, South Saskatchewan Region
  • Paul Frame – Provincial Carnivore Specialist, Policy Division, Edmonton
  • Melanie Percy – Ecologist, AEP Parks Division
  • Debbie Mucha – Manager , AEP Parks Division
  • Ron Wiebe – Inspector , Calgary Unit, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch
  • Bill Hunt – Resource Manager, Banff National Park
  • Hilary Young - Y2Y representative
  • Tyler McClaron - Wildsmart representative
  • Katie Morrison - CPAWS representative

Background

The study area extends from the Town of Banff to Seebe west to east, and between the height of land across the Bow Valley. It encompasses all federal, provincial and municipal lands within this area.

The vision of this initiative is:

The Wildlife in the Bow Valley are able to effectively utilize their natural habitat with minimal human disturbance while avoiding developed areas such as town sites and campgrounds. Human wildlife conflict management is coordinated and integrated among the responsible agencies and the public understands their decisions and actions.

With collaboration among our partners and stakeholders, the Town of Canmore believes we can: reduce food sources close to areas where there is high human use, implement and enforce temporary area closures when wildlife is present, work together to address issues when wildlife crosses jurisdictional boundaries, increase effectiveness of public education, and designate and enforce areas where wildlife habitat is the primary land use.

To stay informed about the progress of this initiative, follow us on Facebook or twitter, and watch for progress reports at upcoming council meetings.

Visit www.wildsmart.ca for more information on living smart with wildlife. To watch the 25-minute documentary entitled Living with Wildlife, which takes a realistic look at the challenges and the constant pressures wildlife face, click here.