For many, the most powerful land animal in North America is a symbol of awe-inspiring freedom, power and wilderness. Grizzly bears have captured our imagination for centuries, making these treasured furry behemoths the top reason people flock to National Parks like Yellowstone National Park in the United States and Banff National Park in Canada for summer holidays. Unfortunately, due to their declining numbers, the vast size of each National Park and limited numbers of people who hike into the wilderness, viewing the bear is usually an unsuccessful mission.
Two places in Canada offer this very special experience, coveted by your inner naturalist, to see something that makes us feel humbled in the grizzly bear’s presence and inspired by their power. They are located in two completely different eco systems, one classic Rocky Mountain region being Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, while the other is an incredibly rich, green, coastal environment full of giant trees the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, in British Columbia.
Bears for all – Classic Canadian Tours
Tourists come from all over the world to view our wild nature but few Canadians take the powerful nature of our country to heart and truly experience what it has to offer. Stepping in to change that, Bill Lamberton of Classic Canadian Tours, provides unique adventures for Canadians to experience the magic of our wild landscape.
Departing in the early morning from Calgary, leaving the prairie environment and heading to the land of big trees, vivid greens and freshness-infusing youthful mist greet you. Your destination, Prince Rupert, British Columbia, is the gateway to nature alive. Board the sleek catamaran called Inside Passage, which takes you on this wildlife safari, where the opportunities abound. it won’t take long for you to be pacing back and forth, from port to starboard, to take in the sights of whales, sea birds, shore birds, sea lions and more as you cruise to your ultimate destination, the fjord-like Khutzemateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary.
Slowing down, quiet takes over the ship, everyone glued to their binoculars and cameras, a sea of rainbow coloured coats decorate the decks. Everyone is ready for the star of the show. Classic Canadian Tours have picked times for optimal Grizzly Bear viewing opportunities and with their tours comes a massive educational benefit provided by the legendary naturalist Brian Keating and expert wildlife biologist, Les Stegenga. Like the water you cruised through, this isn’t your typically dry presentation. Both get excited about every living creature along the way, so pay close attention as this is a classroom worth connecting with. Who knew the sea lions once lived on land, with its powerful jaw structure similar to a current day bear? Who knew we would not only see a variety of bears from juvenile to a real senior – pushing 32 – and learn about the differing ways each search for food?
All ages will cherish this very close – yet highly respectful – encounter. Not only will the bears’ size and power generate massive ‘ooohs and ahhhs’, but this ecosystem they inhabit, the immense wilderness, will be etched into the most memorable moments of your life.
Grizzly in the Rocky Mountain region
A day visit or week-long summer holiday to Banff National Park is not complete without a visit to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, located in Golden, British Columbia. This is home to one of the largest enclosed and protected grizzly bear habitats in the world. It’s best to try and schedule the morning tour, as Boo (yes, that is his name) will likely try to escape the afternoon’s summer heat just like you, by playing in his pond and napping under a densely shaded area. Be ready for a wide-eyed experience with this naturalists led interpretive tour, viewing Boo while he forages and plays just like a bear in the wild.