Bear incident on Franklin Island

Weronika from White Squall reported their first bear encounter on Franklin Island this Victoria Day weekend. The bear got into someone’s food (stored in a kayak) and damaged the boat.

The Ministry of Natural Resources runs the Bear Wise program https://www.ontario.ca/page/prevent-bear-encounters-bear-wise and has a phone number (1-866-514-2327) where non-emergency encounters can be reported.

A personal comment from your webmaster:

Please store your food safely and help prevent bears becoming habituated to food. Leave no Trace has recommendations for hanging a bear bag. Storing food in a bear canister is also a good solution, especially on the smaller islands where you may have difficulties finding a suitable tree, but most of the canisters that I know of, like the BearVault BV500 and the Garcia Machine Backpacker’s Cache, are too big (approx. 31×21 cm) to store in a kayak cockpit. However, if I knew I was going to camp near a site where a bear had previously found food, and I would not be certain that I’d be able to hang my food properly, I would strap my empty bear can to my boat and move all food into the canister once I’m on the site.

4 thoughts on “Bear incident on Franklin Island”

  1. GLSKA trip to Franklin was happening the same weekend. And we had a bear (most likely the same one) thrashing Kaz’s kayak, opening both hatches and the cockpit, taking all the food, making a mess, damaging the hatch opening and throwing the kayak in the water (and Kaz slept through all of it!). All the precautions and recommendations are preventive in my opinion. Once you have a bear who knows there is food in kayaks and has no fear of people, none of those will work.

  2. Did you report the incident? Someone should also inform White Squall. I don’t think it is safe to store food in kayaks. That bear, if it’s the same one, has now learned that there is food in kayaks, and will continue to look there. Franklin has trees that are high enough to do proper bear hang. Should I do a demo at rendezvous?

  3. Last year there were several bear incidents on Franklin. Kayaks being broken into, people being chased off sites while having shore lunches and even a tent was ripped open (they had left cookies in it). White squall was great in warning trippers. I am a very experienced backcountry camper, selected a site away from others, inspected it for bear sign, hung the food and we still had a bear break into an empty kayak. Luckily we left the hatches off as a precaution which minimized boat damage.
    They are associating kayaks with food rewards. The bear was not human aggressive at all, and we never felt threatened trying to get it off the site. But until people stop storing food in boats, it’s going to continue to be a risk to everyone. The mnr website has some great “bear wise” tips for preventing encounters, what to do in an encounter etc.

    I believe white squall thought that last year there may be 3 individual bears on the island who were the issue. Always report to the mnr hotline and more importantly to white squall so they can inform everyone. By sept an advisory had been issued warning trippers not to camp on the island.

  4. A simple steel pole erected permanently on the site with a Tee welded atop with hooks provided. used atop Gros Morne Nfld.( e.g.. No Trees atop this area)
    Another light pole telescoping or rigid would be used to hoist your food/toiletries & clothing having the scent of bbq’s aroma.
    Trees/bearboxes etc all need to be at a safe distance away from sleeping quarters.
    Expelled spit from brushing your teeth have drawn grizzlies to sites on The Ice Fields parkway Hostels & campsites.
    I have witnessed all the above first hand across Canada.

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