Bear Aware publishes its 2019 Annual Report
Executive Summary (for the full report please click here: 2019 Annual Report)
2019 was a progressive year for Revelstoke Bear Aware. There were 175 reports concerning black bears made to Revelstoke Bear Aware and the Conservation Officer service. The Conservation Officer Service destroyed 3 black bears in 2019. There were 11 incidents where bears broke into houses and destroyed property and 1 instance where a bear attacked a resident. Injuries were treated at the hospital. The first reported bear sighting in 2019 was on April 1 and the last reported bear sighting was on December 9.
Garbage continues to be the number one attractant for bears in Revelstoke with 63% of bear sightings being associated with garbage as an attractant. All of the destroyed bears were killed as a result of becoming conditioned to eating garbage. This year Revelstoke Bear Aware continued a cost share program to remove barriers for residents looking to purchase a bear resistant bin. Bear resistant storage bins were offered at Revelstoke Home Hardware and Costco with a $300 discount funded by Revelstoke Bear Aware. This program was very well received and utilized the entire funding amount of $6000 for the 2019 program which consisted of 20 bins.
Unmanaged fruit trees were another common attractant for bears in Revelstoke. Our Gleaning Project was extremely active this year and we gleaned a record amount of trees. In 2019 people were encouraged to pick their own trees and donate their fruit to the project as it was difficult to keep up with demand. Revelstoke Bear Aware harvested 4415 lbs of fruit, of which 820 lbs were donated to the Food Bank as either fresh or preserved fruit. This year Revelstoke Bear Aware implemented a Fruit Share website (www.revelstokefruitshare.org) for the community to come together to chat and share their trees. The coordinator-led Gleaning Program will be reserved for people who are unable to pick their own trees where the Fruit Share Program will be available for those who are able to pick their own fruit but would like to instead share their fruit with the community.
Revelstoke Bear Aware delivered 11 class room presentations, contributed to 2 City Council meetings, and attended 13 public events. A new event was also launched in 2019, the Bear Aware Affair, where the community came together to learn about bears in Revelstoke with the help of local partners such as Parks Canada and the Conservation Officer Service and take part in fun bear related activities. Through these events we reached a total 2,031 people.
Four major door-to-door campaigns were mounted in 2019. In addition, one door-to-door campaign was completed by the Conservation Officer Service. Two major location specific door-to-door campaigns were also completed near Bridge Creek and Farwell due to a Grizzly Bear feeding on natural resources in the area.
The Revelstoke Bear Aware social media channels generated over 278,969 post views for the season. Numerous posts regarding attractant management and the Gleaning Project were made to the Stoke List and Revelstoke Community page on social media pages.
Bear in Area lawn signs were deployed in areas where bears had been reported. Feedback continues to suggest that the signs are very effective at raising awareness and reminding people to secure attractants. Signs were deployed 92 times during the season, for an average of around 5 days at a time giving a total of 460 sign/days in 2019. In addition, signs were loaned to several campgrounds and resorts so that staff could deploy signs when bears were seen in their area.
It would not have been possible to deliver the Revelstoke Bear Aware program to so many members of the community without the support from volunteers. This year 58 volunteers gave a total of 182 volunteer hours to Revelstoke Bear Aware.
Included in this report are recommendations for 2020. Key recommendations are summarized below:
- Follow the progress of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s move to create an organic waste disposal system in Revelstoke. Investigate what this organic waste disposal program will mean for bear-resistant garbage disposal in town.
- Continue to promote communal garbage bins in trailer parks and new developments.
- Continue to offer the bear resistant storage bin cost share program as an option for home owners.
- Implement a strategy to educate short-term renters.
- Implement a strategy to educate newcomers to town.
Fruit Tree Management
- Continue to operate the Gleaning Project, to ensure unused fruit is available to our community and does not become a bear attractant. The Gleaning Project will be available to those who are unable to pick their own fruit.
- Promote the online fruit share application so that gleaners and people with excess fruit can connect independently of the Gleaning Project. The fruit share website will be available to those who are able or unable to pick their own fruit but would like to share with the community.
- Launch a fruit tree removal cost share program to encourage people who are not managing their fruit trees to replace the fruit tree with a non-fruit bearing tree.
- Continue to list unmanaged residential fruit trees, with the aim of assisting enforcement of the new City Bylaw.
- Continue to identify unmanaged fruit trees on City property and lands managed by other agencies, and request removal of these fruit trees.
- Continue to offer our Bear Aware Affair which will host a pruning and electric fence workshop.
- Continue to promote Park’s Canada’s bear awareness workshops.
The Revelstoke Bear Aware Society would like to express gratitude to the following organizations for financial contributions made to Revelstoke Bear Aware in 2019: