Thursday 8 August 02:01 PM
I made a big whoopsie recently. I hiked a trail that is “open”, but decommissioned. The trail remains in guide books and online sites and apps for hiking. It shows up everyday on my social media feeds - it has a great view. Until recently, I refused to hike there because of a sign at the start of the trail that asks hikers to consider hiking elsewhere as it’s “prime grizzly habitat”. I took this as a warning for MY safety, selfishly not considering the bears. After hiking the lower section (twice) and posting a video from there in an adoption story, I became educated on the seriousness of the impact of my hike on this valuable wildlife corridor. There are transit barriers in this area (including a dam) and this corridor is key for the grizzly population to move and reproduce in a varied gene pool (necessary to sustain a healthy population). Bears have a huge food source in the meadows of Mount Indefatigable and it’s a prime denning area. By hiking there and displacing them, we effectively fence them into smaller populations and force them to den in less ideal areas, lowering their reproductive success. By choosing this trail, we each impact the already threatened grizzly population.
Recently, Instagram has been flooded with photos from this trail. This has caused many to find the hike, and helped them to justify going past the sign that asks us to reconsider. The sign at the trailhead is outdated for the gravity of the current situation allowing many (myself included) to easily justify a hike.
I try to always advocate for responsible land use, and at the same time, I know that more people in the places I show is harmful to the habitat. It’s a trade-off that weighs heavily on me.
I am not proud that I directly added to a serious problem; I want to quickly become part of a solution. I removed an adoptable pup’s story that was videoed there (a tough decision as it effects more than just me - I think that’s the theme here). If you know anyone who has hiked Mount Indefatigable, please consider sending this post to them in a private message so they can have time and space to consider what made me remove it from my page. #fortheloveofbears #becomepartofthesolution