'Food-conditioned bear' prompts closure of campground, trail near Whistler

A black bear is pictured on May 27, 2012. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Multiple reports of aggressive behaviour from what conservation officers are calling a "food-conditioned bear" has led to the closure of a campground and trail near a B.C. resort town.

In a post online Tuesday, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said both the Cheakamus Lake Trail and the Cheakamus Lake Campground near Whistler are closed until June 22. Normally, the Cheakamus Lake Campground has 10 spots available for reservations.

The agency says "a number of incidences" were reported.

"Please remember it is everyone’s responsibility to store food and essentials appropriately in the backcountry," the BCCOS said online. "Do not be the reason why a bear is destroyed!"

The BCCOS says campers should store all wildlife attractants – like food and scented items – in a vehicle, trailer, bear cache or bear hang.

Already this spring, multiple bear attacks have been reported in the province.

Last week, a man was left with serious injuries after being attacked by a bear at a remote worksite north of Prince George.

About two weeks ago, conservation officers in North Vancouver closed a trail after a hiker was reportedly swatted at by a black bear. The trail eventually reopened, though the bear was not located "despite extensive efforts." 

Earlier in May, a man was attacked by a grizzly bear on his property in the Southern Interior. In that instance, one of two dogs ran into the bush and likely provoked the bear that lunged at the man in the community of Malakwa, conservation officers said at the time.

In the first five months of the year, the BCCOS received 3,537 calls about black bears, according to provincial data. Of those, about 72 per cent – or 2,564 – were made in May alone. From January through May, officers responded to 483 of those calls.