HERON BAY – To ensure the safety of park visitors, the entire backcountry of Pukaskwa National Park has been closed following an incident in which a visitor was injured by a lone adult black bear. All registered park visitors have been evacuated and park staff continue to patrol the backcountry for unregistered visitors.
The incident occurred at Simon’s Harbour, a remote backcountry location along Lake Superior, located approximately 60 kms southeast of the Hattie Cove campground. The victim’s injuries were not life-threatening.
The primary concern continues to be the safety of visitors. Trained staff from Parks Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources are now working to locate the bear based on evidence collected from the site. Proper investigation is important to help prevent future incidents.
Front-country visitors in the Hattie Cove area have been informed of the incident and assured their safety is not at risk.
The park has a Bear Management Plan to prevent bear-human conflicts, primarily through education and encouraging appropriate visitor behaviour.
Over the past ten years, there have been hundreds of bear sightings in Pukaskwa, and only three reports where a bear demonstrated aggressive behavior.
Visitors are reminded to exercise caution in bear country. By becoming familiar with bear behaviour, and what to do if you encounter a bear you can protect both yourself and bears. Never leave food, garbage or recyclables in accessible locations. Bear-proof garbage cans and/or storage bins are available at all backcountry campsites. Further information on appropriate behaviour in black bear areas is available from park staff or at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/blackbear.
All bear sightings in Pukaskwa should be immediately reported to park staff at the Visitor Centre, Kiosk, or by phone (807) 229-0801 ext. 237.
Photo Courtesy Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)