Mountains, lakes and meadows make Manning Park a must-visit destination for wildlife viewings. From Columbian Ground Squirrels to Black Bear, wildlife is abundant in the Park, and sometimes you don't even need to venture beyond the Lodge grounds to capture a glimpse.
Wildlife viewing 'hot spots' include: Alpine Meadows (Hoary Marmot, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, Pika), Lightning Lake chain and Similkameen River (bear, moose, deer, beavers and river otters), alpine trails (Coyote, Lynx and the occasional Cougar) and day-use areas (Columbian Ground Squirrels).
Manning Park is home to a wide variety of birds and animals. There are 206 separate species of birds and 63 species of mammals within the Park. The Spotted Owl is at risk in British Columbia, because much of its preferred habitat has been adversely affected by logging or lost due to land development. These rare birds are known to occur within Manning Park and a management plan to conserve Spotted Owl in the Manning and Skagit Valley areas is underway.
Recommended Birding locations:
Strawberry Flats - combined tree and wildflowers in meadow-like conditions; look for Rufous and Callilope Hummingbirds, and the Boreal Chickadee.
Beaver Pond - one kilometre East of the Lodge, this road-side pond has long been a 'shrine' for birders; look for Spotted Sandpipers, Three-toed Woodpeckers or five species of Swallow.
Mount Frosty - a full day hike into alpine terrain; look for Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch and White-tailed Ptarmigan, not to mention Spruce Grouse and Boreal Chickadees along the way.
East Gate (McDiarmid Meadows) - unique lowland meadows near the Similkameen River; look for Red-naped Sapsucker, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, and Harlequin Ducks.
Manning Park also hosts "BIRD BLITZ" every year in June. It's a fun event for expert and novice birders alike. The Bird Blitz begins with registration at Lone Duck Campground. Then, after a full day of birding, participants will return to a barbecue with buns, salads and drinks (bring your own protein!). After dinner, birders will meet around the campfire for a quick run-through of the day’s sightings, followed by a guest speaker. The next morning morning is another opportunity to cover those areas missed on Saturday.
Please visit hopemountain.org for more information.
Bears may be encountered throughout many parks during the summer months. Bears are not tame, gentle or cuddly; they are unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
Although most bears are simply travelling through and make every effort to avoid humans, a bag of garbage or some unattended food on a picnic table may be irresistible to their keen sense of smell.
Don't be a contributor to food-conditioning.
There are some simple precautions you must take to prevent the food-conditioning of bears and avoid dangerous bear encounters.
• Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife.
• Reduce or eliminate odours that attract bears. At the campground, store food in air-tight containers in your RV or car trunk.
• Bear caches must be used if they are available at the park.
• Pack out all your garbage. Store garbage with your food, out of reach of bears. Do not bury garbage or throw it into pit toilets. Only paper and wood may be burned: plastics, tinfoil, and food items do not burn completely and the remains will attract bears (besides creating an unsightly mess). Storing garbage in bear-proof containers is recommended.
• Cook and eat well away from your tent.
• Clean up immediately and thoroughly. Never leave cooking utensils, coolers, grease or dish water lying around.
• Dispose of dish water by straining it and then throwing it into a gray water pit or pit toilet. Solids should be packed out with the garbage.
• The odours of cosmetics, toothpaste and insect repellent can attract bears. These should be stored out of reach with your food and garbage, never in your tent. Leave strongly perfumed items at home.
• Obey all closures and warnings.
Fish smells are a strong attractant for bears.
• Do not store food or bait in your tent and keep your campsite clean.
• Bleed and clean your catch in the stream, not at your campsite, and throw offal into deep or fast moving water. If approached by a bear, reel in and leave the area, or cut the line if playing a fish.
• Do not handle roe used for bait on picnic tables. Wash your hands afterwards, do not wipe on clothing.
• Do not build fires or cook by the river's edge.
Keep pets leashed. If possible, keep pets at home. Free-running pets can anger a bear and provoke an attack.
• Always check ahead for bears in the distance. If one is spotted, make a wide detour and leave the area immediately.
• Make warning noises and loud sounds.
• Watch for bear sign: tracks, droppings, overturned rocks, rotten trees torn apart, clawed, bitten or rubbed trees, bear trails, fresh diggings or trampled vegetation.
• Stay clear of dead wildlife.
• Take note of signs that may indicate carrion - such as circling crows or ravens, or the smell of rotting meat.
• Carcasses attract bears. Leave the area immediately!
• Report the location of dead wildlife to Park staff.
If you have an encounter with a bear, please leave the area immediately and report it to park staff as soon as possible.
Bear pepper sprays have been effective in deterring some bear attacks. However, do not use them as a substitute for safe practices in bear country. Avoidance is still your best bet.
• If spotted in the distance, do not approach the bear. Make a wide detour or leave the area immediately. Report your sighting to Park Staff at the first opportunity.
• If you are at close range, do not approach the bear. Remain calm, keep it in view. Avoid direct eye contact.
• Move away without running. Report the sighting to Park Staff.
• If the bear is standing up, it is usually trying to identify you. Talk softly so it knows what you are. If it is snapping its jaws, lowering its head, flattening its ears, growling or making 'woofing' signs, it is displaying aggression.
• Do not run unless you are very close to a secure place. Move away, keeping it in view. Avoid direct eye contact.
• Dropping your pack or an object may distract it to give you more time. If it is a grizzly, consider climbing a tree.
• What to do if a Bear Attacks
• Your response depends on the species and whether the bear is being defensive or offensive. Bears sometimes bluff their way out of a confrontation by charging then turning away at the last moment. Generally, the response is to do nothing to threaten or further arouse the bear. While fighting back usually increases the intensity of an attack, it may cause the bear to leave.
*Taken from BC Parks government website. For more information on bears and wildlife safety visit the BC Parks website