Bear sightings have prompted both the Nelson-Salmon Great Northern Trail to close and the Kokanee Marina to limit their recycling bin hours.

Kootenay bear season returns

RDCK closed portion of the Nelson-Salmo Great Northern Trail, Kokanee Marina has limited recycling hours after sightings.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) has closed a portion of the Nelson-Salmo Great Northern Trail after bear sightings near Cottonwood Lake, while meanwhile Kokanee Marina has been forced to limit their recycling hours.

“I’ve seen bears stand up with their paws on the bin and reach in for items at this site. If people are going to use (the recycling depot) then they should use it properly. If recyclables are cleaned then the attractant is minimized,” said conservation officer Nathan Smienk.

The recycling depot has historically been open 24/7, but as part of efforts to mitigate human/wildlife interactions the collection bins will now be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. You’re asked to help the RDCK by limiting the use of the Kokanee depot to only the hours that the bin is open.

There will be signs posted at the site. If the issue persists, the RDCK said they may consider closing the bins temporarily, in which case residents can bring their recyclables to the Balfour transfer station.

Smienk noted that when bears become dependent on a human-provided food source it can be a potentially dangerous situation for both the bears and the people in the area. In response, the RDCK is working with the marina owner to prevent the bins from being an attractant.

The partial closure of the Nelson-Salmo Great Northern Trail happens annually, and will include the trail south of Cottonwood Lake parking area to Hall Siding.

Signs will be posted accordingly at the entrances.

“As black bear and grizzly bear activity is common in the spring and early summer, bears may be present on the trail system throughout the year so please remember to always use caution, do not attempt to view or approach bears, do not leave garbage or food on trails,” reads an RDCK press release.

“The RDCK wants to thank everyone in advance for their understanding and participation with this. We are all lucky to live in such a wild, beautiful place and we want to do our part to keep it that way.”

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