Conservation recommended removing attractants to avoid snooping bears. /PHOTO BRIAN BOBKE

By Michael Piasetzki

Anyone who has lived in the Robson Valley for a certain number of years will agree that it’s not unusual to have black bear sightings reported at this time of year.

After all, these solitary yet mightily-strong beasts who eat mostly nuts, corn, fruit, insects and succulent greens are now in the latter stage of their summer/fall foraging season. In other words, they’re extremely hungry, trying to fill their stomachs with as much food as possible before heading off to hibernate in the mountains for the rapidly approaching winter.

Yet, even though there are black bear sightings every fall, it’s still quite a shock for any local when a black bear is seen snooping around his or her backyard.

That’s exactly what happened last Wednesday to Brian Bobke and Sherry Tinsley-Bobke while they were having dinner in their home on Grenfel Place.

“Brian chased it out of our backyard,” Tinsley told the Goat last Friday. “It looked to be around two years old. I told him ‘You’d better be careful. You can see his claw marks on our garbage bins.'”

After seeing the bear, Tinsley said she called the conservation office.

“They didn’t seem too concerned,” Tinsley said. “They told me it’s up to me to keep my garbage put up. They wanted me to dig up my garden and get rid of my compost. That’s not happening. We have two buildings outside and they’re not enclosed and they want me to enclose them. I’m not doing that either. I told him the bear doesn’t seem to be afraid. My main concern is for the kids and pets.”

According to Tinsley, the bear has been sighted all over town.

“We have a rental property on Third Ave. and the bear was seen there. Somebody told me it went over to the veterinarian’s office on Main St., and scared a woman. It was behind her vehicle. It’s been seen on Third Ave., Sixth Ave., and one lady told me it was seen going through the yard over by the Catholic Church.”

For its part, the Village of Valemount posted a notice on its web site Sept. 16, warning citizens that bears have been spotted in the area.

“Yes we have had a couple of reports of a bear up around Swift Creek,” said Cassandra Knelsen, visitor information centre coordinator/accounts payable clerk at the Village of Valemount. “It’s our job to take the information and pass it on to the conservation office which is based in Clearwater. It’s their job to deal with the situation.”

When contacted by the Goat about the bear sightings in Valemount, the conservation office was not available for comment.

For her part, Tinsley, who has lived in Valemount her whole life, will remain vigilant about the bear but doesn’t plan to change her lifestyle because of it.

“I run every other day around the old dump,” Tinsley said. “I’m aware the bear’s out there and yes, it’s an issue, but I’m not going to start getting afraid.”

Brian Bobke and Sherry Tinsley were surprised to see this bear in their backyard recently. /BRIAN BOBKE