A woman who went for a stroll in a park in Athabasca earlier this month got more than she bargained for when a couple of bears started following her. But in the end no harm was done.
According to Athabasca RCMP, early on the morning of Aug. 1, a call came from a woman informing them her elderly sister had left for a hike and not returned when expected.
“When she tried to call her sister she had poor reception. The caller was able to hear that her sister was in the trails, and being followed by two black bears. A second phone call came through but only muffled noises were heard.”
This was fairly alarming, and a search was mounted.
RCMP jumped on ATVs and made patrols of the Muskeg Creek Park area, which is located adjacent to the town. The park contains 20 km of wilderness trails in Athabasca. A short while later the 70 year-old woman was located on a back trail, exhausted but unharmed.
“The hiker appeared relieved to see us when we located her,” says Cpl. Curtis Harsulla. “It appeared that the bears did indeed follow her, but more-so out of curiosity and did not show any signs of aggression. She was given a ride back to her residence.”
RCMP would like to remind trail users and residents to be ‘bear-aware,’ and remember bears are frequently seen both in town and the back-country.
Deterrents such as air horns, whistles and bear-spray, along with letting others know your plans if going alone are all good ideas when heading out into bear country. For more information visit www.bearsmart.alberta.ca or contact your local Fish and Wildlife Division or RCMP detachment.