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Elk kill on Kimberley trail sparks grizzly warning

Residents asked to stay off trails to give bear time to move on.

Carolyn Grant

Another grizzly is lurking around the edges of Kimberley, this time in the Lois Creek Trails area.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, a jogger reported seeing an elk kill. The kill site was within the Lois Creek Trails area, a spot that sees a high volume of mountain bike/hiking traffic.

Townsite resident and City Councillor Darryl Oakley called conservation officers, realizing that there was likely a bear around the kill. He led CO Jeff Scott into the area of Florence's Gully Saturday afternoon.

"We didn't know exactly where the kill was but had a pretty good idea, after receiving information earlier on Saturday morning," said Oakley. "Just as we approached the kill, there was a movement that I just caught out of the corner of my eye. There was a grizzly lying on top of the elk."

The kill site was only a few metres off the trail at the north end of Florence's Gully.

"As Jeff approached the kill site, the grizzly immediately retreated into the heavy underbrush," he said. "Because the bear left the kill site, the CO then determined that it would be possible to remove the partially buried elk carcass from the Lois Creek Trails. Completely removing the food source would then encourage the grizzly to move on."

Both men backed out of the kill site, Oakley says, and called another CO — Ray Gilewicz — to assist.

After doing some chainsaw work clearing the Florence's Gully trail, the two COs managed to access the elk carcass with their quad. The cow elk was partially consumed and partially buried, so required significant effort to remove.

Oakley says the conservation officers are recommending people stay away from the Lois Creek Trails for at least five days — until at least Thursday — to allow time for the bear to clear the area.

He said that the CO believes it was a young grizzly.