Grizzly Bears on Grouse Mountain
“The grizzly is a symbol of what is right with the world.” -Charles Jonkel, Bear Biologist
There are two resident grizzly bears on Grouse Mountain. Grinder was found in 2001 in Invermere when he was wandering alone on a logging road. He was dehydrated, thin, weak and weighed only 4.5 kg. Grinder is high-spirited and has established himself as the dominant bear despite his smaller size. In 2001, Coola was found orphaned on a highway near Bella Coola. His mother was killed by a truck and, of her three cubs, Coola was the only one to survive. He is an easygoing bear who is content to let Grinder take the lead in new discoveries. Coola is often found submerged up to his neck in the large pond, feeling around for his underwater toys, which are a favourite rock, large bone and a log.
Grinder and Coola live at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. The Refuge is a conservation, education and research facility currently accommodating the grizzly bears and three gray wolves. Millions of visitors have seen the animals at the Refuge. The facility is unique because it was built as an animal reserve and not as a zoo.
Grizzly bears are the more aggressive of the bears found in British Columbia. They are also the most vulnerable and threatened given that they are no longer found in 99 per cent of their original habitat. When grizzly bears hibernate, they sleep for a few hours and then get up and walk around their cave as if in a trance, then lie down and go back to sleep.
The grizzly bear is a subspecies of brown bear that generally lives in the uplands of western North America. This subspecies is thought to descend from Ussuri brown bears which crossed to Alaska from eastern Russia 100,000 years ago, though they did not move south until 13,000 years ago.
I recommend visiting Grouse Mountain in the summer to see these magnificent bears.
Grouse Mountain is a four season tourist destination located 15 minutes from Vancouver. It is one of the North Shore Mountains in North Vancouver and is Vancouver’s most popular attraction receiving more than 1.2 million visitors each year. Grouse Mountain is open daily from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM 365 days a year.
In October 1894, the first recorded hiking party named Grouse Mountain after they hunted blue grouse on its alpine slopes. At that time, climbing Grouse Mountain was a three or four day journey, as there was no bridge across Burrard Inlet and no road to the base. Hikers had to trek over rocks and through dense forest to ascend the summit. Word of the first ascent spread and Grouse Mountain attracted hundreds of hikers. Among them were Don and Phyllis Munday who built the first log cabin on the mountain. The Munday Alpine Snowpark is named in their honour.
In the summer, the mountain features the Birds in Motion and Lumberjack shows, heli and hiking tours, paragliding, ziplines, summer camps, the Theatre in the Sky, wildlife refuge and a 2.9 kilometre hiking trail known as the Grouse Grind.
For travel from Vancouver, take the SeaBus from Waterfront Station SeaBus Terminal to the Charles A Spratt SeaBus Terminal at Lonsdale Quay and then take Bus 236 to Grouse Mountain. For more information, visit translink.ca.
For travel by car from Vancouver, follow Georgia Street through Stanley Park and across the Lion’s Gate Bridge, then take the North Vancouver exit to Marine Drive and turn left on Capilano Road. Proceed north on Capilano Road for five kilometres (three miles).