Staying Respectful & Safe in the Bella Coola Valley
As a visitor to the Bella Coola Valley, we can already safely say a few things about you. You are not your average traveller. You are looking for an authentic experience off the beaten track of the typical tourist circuit. You love nature and value the pristine, remoteness of this out of the way place. Visitors to the Bella Coola Valley have to really want to be here. We are so lucky have such respectful guests that value how special this hidden gem is.
Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind as you enjoy our Valley from the Pacific Ocean to “The Hill” the gateway to the Chilcotin and beyond.
You might see wildlife. Foxes, bald eagles, wolves, cougars, blacktail deer, black bears, grizzly bears and more abound in this untamed wilderness but do need respect and should be observed from a respectful, safe, distance (100m+).
Using binoculars and telephoto lenses allow you to get the best unobtrusive wildlife viewing experience and increase safety and security for both the viewer and the viewee.
Bears and other wild animals can often be spotted while driving. If this is the case safety is the top priority. Ensure you continue driving in a safe and courteous manner. Remain quietly in your vehicle allowing a safe distance and a safe exit route for the animal.
It is illegal to feed wildlife. Whether intentionally or unintentionally it is important to keep wildlife wild. As the old saying goes, “take only pictures, leave only footprints.” Bears who associate humans with food become food conditioned and lose their fear of people. These bears become a threat to residents and visitors and will likely be euthanized. Keep wildlife safe by packing in what you pack out, keeping food in bear-proof storage bins and dispose of waste in bear-proof receptacles.
In this beautiful valley, we are lucky enough to be able to view bears feeding in streams and rivers and on the greenest fresh shoots of spring. While observing them are they observing you? If they are, ask yourself if your presence is robbing them of precious calories that they will need through their long hibernation of winter? Does the animal seem nervous or distracted by your presence? If so, move along speaking softly and calmly as you back away.
For camping and hiking best practices click here: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/misc/bears/