Lower Goldstream Trail in Goldstream Provincial Park was closed on Saturday after visitors to the park saw a black bear near a viewing platform used to watch spawning salmon.
Marylee Sampson said the bear was first seen when she was out with the Victoria Camera Club on the trail in the north end of the day-use area of the park, which leads to the nature house.
Sampson said the bear had caught a large salmon and disappeared for about half an hour. At around 10 a.m., the animal had returned and there was a group of 20 people that were in the area to watch the salmon.
According to Sampson, a park volunteer was monitoring the spot when the bear returned and started crossing logs and the water toward the group. The volunteer told everyone to leave slowly and quietly.
Sampson said the bear huffed and chopped down on its teeth as a warning to leave. The volunteer blew an air horn and the bear retreated.
“To be so close to this was exhilarating to say the least as well as extremely frightening,” Sampson said.
“I was certainly grateful a friend and the park volunteer was with me as we were the last three left with the bear. Although I was scared I still managed to get a few shots of him as he moved towards us.”
Sampson said the volunteer contacted a park ranger and park officials blocked off the trail so the bear could keep fishing. Sampson said the officials told her they will monitor and evaluate the bear.
The trail remains closed due to the bear feeding near the estuary. All other areas of the park remain open.
Black bears, cougars and deer, as well as numerous small animals like raccoons, minks, beavers, otters and Gray and Douglas squirrels all call Goldstream Park home. Salmon, trout and steelhead are found in the park’s streams, and migratory and resident birds such as hummingbirds, Bald eagles, turkey vultures, ducks and gulls can be spotted throughout the park. From late October through December of each year, chum, coho and Chinook salmon enter the Goldstream River via Finlayson Arm from the Pacific Ocean.