Two aggressive bear encounters this afternoon forced the closure of the Sutherland Hills section of Mission Creek Regional Park.
The two instances occurred within a short time of each other. In the first case a visitor with a dog on leash came upon the mother bear and two cubs and the sow stood up and became agitated. The visitor was able to safely get away.
The second incident saw another hiker unexpectedly confront the bear, and the park visitor was again able to quickly backtrack from a serious incident.
As a result, the Cottonwoods and Kokanee bridges over Mission Creek and all entrances to the Sutherland Hills section of the park near Hall Road have been closed. Park visitors must stay out of signed, closed areas or they may be ticketed with a $500 fine.
During this closure, Kokanee interpretive programs will be moved to other locations.
Regional district communications officer Bruce Smith said, “We’ve had four bears (a male, female and two cubs) roaming in this section of the park. Today’s incidents are the first reports of potentially serious conflicts."