West Shore RCMP bike unit officers pause for a photo with a family that was spooked by a bear in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park last weekend. (Photo courtesy of West Shore RCMP)

West Shore RCMP bike unit officers pause for a photo with a family that was spooked by a bear in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park last weekend. (Photo courtesy of West Shore RCMP)

West Shore RCMP bike unit cops help bear-spooked young family to safety

Police offer up safety tips on how to be bear aware in local parks

Mounties, bikes and bears, oh my!

A group of West Shore RCMP bike unit officers were practicing search and rescue techniques in Highlands over the weekend at Gowlland Tod Provincial Park when they encountered a spooked family of four.

The two adults with two young children had been hiking in the park when they came across a bear. They fled from the bear and got disoriented, but happened to run into the police officers.

Bike unit members made sure the bear wasn’t still around and helped the family get back to their car.

The detachment has had an increase in calls from lost and disoriented hikers, said West Shore RCMP Const. Meighan Massey, and wants to remind people of basic precautions to take when heading in to local parks.

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Here are some common hiking tips from the RCMP to help keep you and the wildlife safe:

• Always tell someone where you are going and which route you are planning to take

• If you are new to the trail systems, take a map with you or snap a photo of the trail system to keep on your phone

• If you are planning a long hike, pack a power bank in your backpack for your cell phone

• Pack first aid supplies – even a small pack is good as you never know what you may encounter

• Bring water

• Pack more water

• Secure all food and attractants to remove temptation to wildlife

• Check the weather before you leave

• Carry a whistle, should you need assistance it carries much farther than your voice

• If you are in bear country, watch for scat and digs. If you see any, turn around and find a new path

• Be loud to let bears know you are around, they will avoid you if they are able to

• Keep small children close, if they run it could trigger the bear to attack

• If you do see a bear, make calm loud noise, (non threatening) and back away slowly, leaving the area

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