BRITISH COLUMBIA

Bear Climbed Fence To Get Trash Left Behind At Pemberton Music Festival

08/06/2015 11:31 EDT | Updated 08/06/2016 05:59 EDT
B.C. Conservation Office
B.C. Conservation officers are warning Squamish Valley Music Festival goers to pick up their trash that could potentially attract bears and other wildlife in the area. 

Last month, a black bear climbed an eight-foot fence around the Pemberton Music Festival area to get to the food and garbage left behind by festival goers.

A photo captured after the massive party showed a mountain pasture littered with abandoned tents, camping chairs, coolers, a still-inflated mattress, and a generous spread of empty plastic water bottles. There was also a considerable amount of food left behind. 

"Bears associate people with food and that's exactly what we're trying to avoid ... it can become a dangerous situation," says conservation officer Tim Schumacher. "People just in the wrong place, wrong time get in between the food source and the bear."

That situation could lead to the eventual destruction of a bear.

Bears get addicted to leftover festival food 

"They can get a lot of calories from our food, more than they can feeding on berries all day long, and so they essentially become crack addicts to garbage. It essentially contributes to the destruction of a bear down the road."

He's hoping that mess can be avoided at the festival this weekend in Squamish, B.C. and that even though parking lots can be a fair distance away, people should pack out all their gear and leftovers when they leave. 

"We can instill a culture in the people and make it not acceptable to leave all that stuff behind."

Paul Runnals, executive producer of the Squamish Valley Music Festival, says they've had workers and volunteers who didn't show to clean up in the past.

"So what we've done this year is we've brought in multiple contractors. basically carved up the responsibility between three or four different groups so we're not reliant on a large workforce coming in from one place."

He says campers will be handed garbage and recycling bags when they enter the area.  

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Pemberton Music Festival 2014