Bear Sightings — Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  –          

Bear Sightings

The municipal dump in Armstrong is a hot spot for bears as they rip the plastic bags apart to dine on the garbage dumped in the pit. On his last visit to the dump, Alan reported having six bears within ten feet of the Wilderness North garbage trailer and three others elsewhere. Although, “dump bears” are very preoccupied and focused on rummaging through garbage we are always cautious around them and have a planned escape route. For those fortunate enough to spot the occasional bear on your drive to and from our seaplane bases we encourage you not to feed the bears. Unlike the “dump bears” bears in their natural environment are not preoccupied with another source of food and should be left alone. If a bear seems overly interested in you or your party they may have been previously fed by people . We suggest not to encourage them, and to keep in mind that, for a large animal, bears can move quite swiftly when they want to and are seldom outrun. Should you encounter a black bear while out in the open, back away slowly until you are out of sight. For more information or to report a bear problem call The MNR Bearwise hotline at 1-866-514-2327.

Speaking of bears, we’ve had a few bears visit our facilities this past month which is very unusual. Normally wary of humans, some think the prolonged high water levels have made it difficult for bears to fish the rivers causing them to wander into camp as they seek out alternative food sources. While at our outpost cabins or enjoying your favourite shore lunch  area, avoid bear encounters by: cleaning up after shore lunch, removing fish and food scraps away from camp (ideally burying them on small islands), storing all garbage out of reach or in a locked container, and keeping dishes clean. This includes cookers, grills, and other cooking implements.

For a bit of bear trivia and a much safer, planned bear encounter, guest heading between Thunder Bay and “the Soo”  (Sault Ste Marie) on their travels to or from Wilderness North should plan to stop in the little town of White River. The Winnie-the-Pooh statue seen from the highway might seem out of place, but White River is actually where the inspiration behind this beloved children’s classic all began. Each year the town holds a festival during the 3rd weekend in August to commemorate the little black bear cub, purchased in White River by a Canadian soldier during his journey to Europe and WW1. Donated to the London Zoo for safe keeping, Winnie the bear cub became a childhood friend for AA Milne’s son Christopher Robin and later became a pivotal character in children’s literature. Learn more about the origins of Winnie-the-Pooh and it’s northern connection here.

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