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Bow Valley WildSmart

The Bow Valley continues to be a sought-after residence and a busy destination for recreationists.

Those who live, work and play in Bow Valley continually adapt in order to minimize conflict with the bears and other wildlife they share the landscape with.

See more in the new video:


WildSmart was first established in 2005 by a coalition of local interest groups including businesses, environmental groups, and public, municipal and provincial government agencies.

It has since evolved into a permanent program of a local charity, the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley.

Each year WildSmart fundraises to provide year-round programming to over 13,000 residents and visitors to the region.

Our goal is to develop a coordinated approach to education/outreach programs and help support direct management activities that will aid in increasing public safety and enjoyment as well as contribute towards sustainable wildlife populations.

Geographic Area Served

WildSmart serves all residents and visitors to the Bow Valley, including:

  • Canmore
  • the M.D. of Bighorn communities:
    • Harvie Heights
    • Exshaw
    • Lac Des Arc
    • Kananaskis Country

Why we need WildSmart in our community

The Bow Valley, with its growing human use and location in critical wildlife habitat and movement corridors, has seen numerous encounters and human fatalities.

WildSmart is a proactive conservation strategy that encourages efforts by communities to reduce negative human-wildlife interactions.

There is a critical need for sustained public education, coordination and collaboration among government agencies, landowners, user groups and businesses.

The Bow Valley and Kananaskis Country are home to both grizzly and black bears, as well as other species such as cougars, coyotes and elk. Due to rising conflicts with all these species, WildSmart was formed as a year round multispecies education program to increase human safety and reduce human-caused wildlife mortalities in the region.

The Bow Valley Hazard Assessment outlines the causes of bear-human conflict in the valley. To read the document, see:

How we do it

The goal is to teach residents and visitors to live smart with wildlife, and engage residents in community-driven initiatives that help reduce human/wildlife conflicts.

For further information, see:


Page Information

Updated: Oct 29, 2017