By Haley Grinder
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It’s that time of year again. The leaves are turning from rich shades of green to vivid reds, oranges, and yellows, and the sheep are returning like clockwork to do their annual rounds. The beautiful Columbia Valley is once again beginning its transition to a much more monochrome colour scale. With which means the valley is quietening, evident in the excess parking, lesser traffic, and shorter daylight hours. 

This also means that the wildlife is beginning to come back, no longer pushed out by the high population. As comforting as this shift is, it also boasts a reminder for drivers to be safe. Although it is still an undeniably magnificent experience to see these wild creatures in nature, living in the valley certainly desensitizes our attentiveness to wildlife encounters over time. These shortened days, and a possible preconceived level of safety caused by our brutally hot summer, has led to the increase of wildlife deaths. 

According to WildSafeBC Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP), in just the last week Edgewater has had two grizzly bear sightings right within town, Invermere has reported black bears, and Radium Hot Springs —of course— is seeing its resident big horn sheep wander back home. All the more reason for hikers to remember to always travel in groups, make lots of noise, and carry bear spray, as well as drivers to slow down, and stay attentive.

Seeing the most recent death of a grizzly after getting hit by a car along Highway 93/95 was devastating. However, it was an unfortunate, yet needed, wake-up call for the general public. Traffic will be increasing with the reroutes from the Trans-Canada Highway come Sept. 28, which is why it is more important than ever for drivers to remember to take it slow. Let’s face it, speeding to get the kids to school or ourselves to work a mere two-minutes faster is simply not worth it. 

People can also be taking advantave of WildSafeBC’s WARP 24-hour wildlife reporting hotline and signing up for wildlife alerts in specific “areas of interest to you, such as a school park, or around home.” Find out more at