May the long weekend be with you

The trees are turning green, the sun is shining and wildlife is migrating back to Alberta. The May long weekend is when many Albertans get out and enjoy the outdoors for the first time of the summer season. Here are a few friendly tips and reminders to help you make the most of this long weekend!

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An Avalanche of Information on Winter Safety

avalanche-day-signAvalanche Awareness Day is a national celebration of Canada’s avalanche safety expertise. Each year Alberta Parks hosts this event in Kananaskis Country.

Alberta Avalanche Actualities

There are an average of 15 to 20 “avalanche involvements” reported to Alberta Parks every season. An “avalanche involvement” may include a person(s) caught and buried (or partially buried) in an avalanche that is either injured or uninjured. However, we suspect that many more avalanche involvements occur each year that go unreported. Our staff perform avalanche control using explosives to mitigate avalanche risk to the highways within the Kananaskis Region. This occurs an average of 3 to 4 times per season. Continue reading

Rules for safe, responsible hunting

This blog series is targeted towards first time hunters and focuses on safe and sustainable hunting in Alberta. Check out a list of all the topics in the series here. This is the fourth article in the series.

It’s extremely important to follow safe practices and procedures while hunting. While on a hunt, conditions can change rapidly and good safety practices can mean the difference between life and death. Make sure you’re prepared and have educated yourself before heading out.

Firearm safety

The federal Firearms Act governs the use of firearms in Canada. Individuals wishing to acquire non-restricted firearms must take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and pass the tests, or challenge and pass the CFSC tests. All hunters should be aware of federal laws surrounding the acquisition, possession, transportation and use of weapons and ammunition. Visit the Canadian Firearms Centre to learn more. Practice shooting and using a firearm will help you become both a more accurate and safe hunter. Continue reading

Snow Study: Staying Safe in Avalanche Country

A small group is gathered around Public Safety Specialist Matt Mueller at the end of a day of Level One Avalanche Skills Training. He’s just demonstrated a “compression test” – cutting a column of snow to check the density of each layer: in this case loose, sugary crumbs underneath a solid cap of wind-packed crust. After explaining to us how easily snow like this can loosen and slide downhill, he lifts up the column – about 70 cm high and 30 cm square – and passes it around, a chunk of snow so heavy that one of the group staggers under its weight and falls over.

Demonstrating a compression test at Avalanche Awareness Day in 2014. Photo: Catharine Findlay.

Demonstrating a compression test at Avalanche Awareness Day in 2014. Photo: Catharine Findlay.

What does Matt and his group have to do with avalanche safety in our mountain parks? The first thing this demonstration drives home is that snow is heavier than you might think. “Imagine a whole slope of this coming down on top of you,” Mueller says. Second, there are many ways to learn more, be the most informed you can to keep yourself safer when you’re venturing into the backcountry in winter. Continue reading

Don’t go out with a bang – watch for wildlife

November is the peak month for vehicle collisions across Alberta – including those with wildlife. In 2014, there was an average of 31 wildlife vehicle collisions in our province each day!

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May long weekend: what to know before you go

It’s that time of year again; time to get out and enjoy what Alberta has to offer. So, before you head out this long weekend – or any time this summer – get the information you need from the Alberta government on fire bans, liquor bans, safe camping, and more.

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Karelian bear dogs help keep people and bears safe

Our Fish and Wildlife friends at Alberta Justice enlist some furry friends to help with bear control – here’s the scoop.

Alberta Justice & Solicitor General

Alberta’s dog program barking up the right tree

A dog is man’s best friend, goes the old saying. That familiar phrase rings true for those Albertans who know about Justice and Solicitor General’s Karelian Bear Dog program.  The dogs use shepherding techniques to teach bears to recognize and avoid inhabited areas, helping to keep Alberta’s communities safe and secure. Watch a video of the dogs in action here.

During a wildlife encounter, a well-trained Karelian will force a bear to leave the area by standing its ground and barking. “We are really grateful to have these fantastic dogs in Alberta,” said fish and wildlife officer John Clarke. “The initiative helps Albertans and bears share the land. And it often means that problem bears do not need to be relocated or destroyed because the dogs teach them not to approach people.”

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Your Guide to the Backcountry: Staying safe in K-Country