A large closure is in effect for an area near Canmore after a grizzly bear sow and her cubs were seen near the town earlier this week.

Alberta Parks issued a warning on Wednesday for the area above the powerline near Quarry Lake, which includes several popular running and mountain bike trails.

The closure is in place until further notice and affects the following areas:

  • Highline Trail
  • Riders of Rohan
  • East and West Connector Trails
  • All access trails between Three Sisters Blvd and Peaks Drive
  • All land south and west of Three Sisters Parkway including land within the Town of Canmore

Several black bears have also been hanging around the townsite lately.

"Respect those trail closures and warnings," said Cheryl Hojnowski of the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley. "They are in place for a reason. They’re there for your safety and they’re also there for the safety of the animals.We want to give them space especially this time of year when the berries are coming in."

"Bears will be coming down the valley looking for that food source.”

Bear encounters are more likely this time of year as buffalo berry crops, which are a key source of food for bears, are starting to ripen.

Tips to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear:

  • Make plenty of noise and travel in groups.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Look and listen for bears and their signs.
  • Keep your pet on a leash.
  • Carry bear spray. Make sure it’s easily accessible, and know how to use bear spray.
  • Learn more about bear safety on the Alberta Parks webpage or at WildSmart.

Alberta Parks is asking people to report all bear sightings immediately by calling 403-591-7755.

For the latest on public safety advisories, visit AlbertaParks.ca.