Castlegar’s Wildsafe BC Coordinator is hosting an event this Saturday as part of the provincial BC Goes Wild weekend. Jenny Wallace is hosting a bear safety talk and demo at 10:00am at Selkirk College’s Mir Centre.

“We’re going to meet in the parking lot right by the Mir Centre and then we’ll kind of head over to the orchards that are right near the Mire Centre there; there’s a lot of bear activity there this time of year. So we will run through a talk about bear safety and other wildlife safety when you’re out hiking and biking and then I’ll be doing a bear spray demonstration and then giving people a chance to actually try out cans of bear spray.”

Wallace says this is a good opportunity as many people usually carry bear spray but may not have used it before.

Wallace highlights another event at the same location people might want to stop by. “Kootenay Food is also holding an event at the Mir Centre on Saturday. They’re doing an apple pick event so they’re getting volunteers to come out and help pick some of the fruit trees over there. So they’ll be there from 9:00 to 2:00, so if anyone’s interested in coming over for the bear spray demonstration and talk they can head over and pick some fruit after they’re done and head home with some apples and pears.”

Wallace says this year has been low compared to others in terms of human-bear conflict.  She says she’s unsure of whether that’s because there’s less conflict or because it’s being reported less. She says people still need to be aware this time of year however.

“Certainly they’re in the community right now. I mean, I just saw a black bear and three cubs last night eating fruits in someone’s backyard, so I mean they’re in town, they’re definitely finding unnatural foods. But, for the most part they’re staying out of serious conflict. Still, of course, super important that people are looking after attractants.”

The City of Castlegar has been cracking down on people not securing their bear resistant garbage bins. Wallace says tickets have been issued as well as some warnings about fruit trees.