Black bear found wandering in a Burns Lake backyard looking for food. (Priyanka Ketkar photo)

Pinkut Site to be closed down on Sep. 1 to mitigate human-bear conflict risk

The seasonal closure will be in effect until Dec. 31

The Pinkut Site of the Babine Lake Marine Provincial Park will be closed down from Sep. 1 to Dec. 31 to mitigate the human-bear conflict risk, according to the Ministry of Environment.

“The Pinkut Site of Babine Lake Marine Park is a small campsite and day-use area immediately adjacent to the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) Pinkut Creek Spawning Channels. DFO staff have informed BC Parks each fall of several grizzly bears being onsite at which point we have closed the campsite to ensure public safety due to its proximity to the spawning channels,” said a ministry spokesperson adding that the closure of the site has been in effective since 2017.

Despite the closure each year, people have always camped out there making it an annual issue with grizzlies appearing onsite according to the spokesperson. This has prompted BC Parks to move to an advertised seasonal closure starting this year. Initially, the date for closing the site was announced as Aug. 20 however, the date has been adjusted after “additional input”. The BC Parks website was not yet updated with the new date, at the time of going to press.

“By closing the campsite and eliminating the attractants we are hopeful that the bears in question do not become problem bears,” said the ministry.

Conservation Officer with the ministry, Jeff Palm told Lakes District News that the gate at the Babine Lake recreation site was open so the public was welcome to use the site. He also mentioned that the Conservation Officer Service hadn’t met with any concerns over problem bears in the area for the last few years and that typically grizzly bears showed up to feed on the dead salmon only later in September. He however did extend a reminder for the public.

“The public is reminded to keep their attractants secure in bear country and to please respect the 400 meter fishing prohibition at the spawning channel outflow,” he said.

The Ministry of Environment also gave a list of measures that people could take while camping to avoid a conflict with bears.

“The best measure for this particular campsite is not to camp there when bears are nearby. BC Parks recommends camping at the Pendleton Bay Site of Babine Lake Marine Park,” said the ministry adding that other measures while vehicle camping in Provincial Parks are to ensure that human and pet food, garbage, dirty stoves, recyclables, toiletries and all other smelly items are locked away in the car or hung from a tree away from campsite, grey water is disposed away from the camp site, any fish retained after angling is secured in a cooler and put in vehicles in order to reduce attractants and finally to not forget to carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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