Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tis’ the season to be bear-aware

Whitefish Pilot | May 14, 2024 9:25 AM

Whitefish Legacy Partners and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are partnering to offer free family-friendly bear-awareness presentations and a hiking event. 

Justine Vallieres, wildlife conflict management specialist for Region 1, will be presenting information and answering questions. 

"The goal of these events is to offer folks free education about a vital part of our community—bears! It's about us and our safety, but it's also about them and their safety—how we can coexist on the same land,” said Haley King, education coordinator for Whitefish Legacy Partners. 

Vallieres was the grizzly bear conflict management technician for the last four years in Region 1, and prior to that she worked on the wolf management project. She graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver with a degree in natural resources conservation focused on applied animal science specializing in wildlife.  

The programs will be on May 23, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Bias Brewing in Kalispell, and again on June 4, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Grouse Mountain Lodge, Whitefish. People will learn all about Grizzly Bear management and recreating safely in bear country. 

There will be a bear-aware guided hike on June 22, from 10 a.m -2 p.m. at the Lion Mountain trailhead in Whitefish. The hike will offer more hands-on learning by exploring bear signs and safety along the trail during this guided hike. This family-friendly outing will involve an easy one to two mile hike and will include having the opportunity to practice spraying an inert canister of bear spray. 

“The more we know before we go, the better equipped we will be to travel safely, whether on a trail close to town or in a remote wilderness area,” King said.