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

The Human-Wildlife Coexistence (HWC) Technical Report will be used by the management organizations in the Bow Valley as a guide to enhance human-wildlife coexistence. Read the report here:  pdf Human Wildlife Coexistence Bow Valley Report (1.72 MB)

Technical Working Group Membership

  • Town of Banff
  • Town of Canmore
  • Government of Alberta
  • Parks Canada
  • Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative 
  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association 
  • WildSmart

Feedback

Public engagement and communication was undertaken in the spring of 2018, following receipt of the Technical Working Group’s report. A summary of feedback collected through email and at open houses in Banff and Canmore was reviewed by the Technical Working Group and the Roundtable in the fall of 2018. This feedback is valued and can be found here:  pdf Human Wild Coexistence Bow Valley Engagement Feedback Summary (3.74 MB)

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. 

 

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