The Conservation Officer Service (COS) is asking people hiking in the Hidden Grove area near Sandy Hook to be vigilant following an unconfirmed grizzly bear sighting on June 6.
Conservation officer Gerry Lister told Coast Reporter there was a third-party report of a grizzly “well away from Sechelt,” on a logging block. The report was made to the COS by Dave Lasser, manager of the Sunshine Coast Community Forest.
He was tipped off after a shíshálh Nation archeology crew sighted the grizzly. They were working at the end of a power line corridor behind Hidden Grove, an area frequented by hikers and dog walkers.
The crew had seen a male and female black bear that were “acting kind of agitated around their crew,” said Lasser.
Rather than wander away from the crew, “these ones kind of hung around,” he said. “They didn’t bother the crew, it was like they didn’t want to leave.”
Shortly after that, the crew spotted the grizzly bear.
The archeology crew works at the top of Jervis Inlet, home to many grizzly bears, “so they were quite certain that it was a grizzly,” said Lasser.
The grizzly did not show any signs of aggression and did not pursue the crew.
Lasser and the crew suspect the grizzly may have been stalking the black bears, which are a source of food for the larger mammal.
The Hidden Grove Society has placed signs in the area to warn pedestrians. “I’ve never heard of one being on the east side of Sechelt Inlet,” said Lasser.
As of June 18 there have been no additional sightings.
Grizzly bears are uncommon on the Sunshine Coast. The last time a grizzly was seen on the Coast was in 2016, when more than half a dozen sightings were reported. One grizzly was killed by a property owner in Egmont after it killed livestock, and another was trapped and relocated after it was sighted in West Sechelt.
– With files from Sean Eckford