Outdoors/Adventure

Parks Canada believes it has killed a black bear that pillaged a Chilkoot Trail cook shelter

Parks Canada said Wednesday it believes a bear habituated to human food that pillaged a staff cook shelter and shut down the Canadian side of Chilkoot Trail has been shot and killed.

At 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, a black bear was shot by a Parks Canada bear management team, an agency bulletin said.

The bear "is believed to be the same bear that broke into the (shelter) on Monday afternoon," officials said. The killing was required because the bear posed a serious safety risk to visitors, they said.

The 33-mile Chilkoot trail follows the route of Gold Rush miners from Dyea, near Skagway, to Bennett, British Columbia.

On Monday afternoon, Parks Canada staff returned to their Lindeman City camp, about 26 miles from the Alaska trailhead, only to find a bear had broken in through a window. It damaged a refrigerator and cupboards, obtaining a "significant food reward," officials said.

A necropsy is set for Tuesday to assess the bear's health and examine the contents of its stomach, Parks Canada said, adding DNA would be analyzed elsewhere.

Additionally, two snares sites used in the attempt to locate the black bear will likely be cleaned and kept closed for three days to allow the scent to dissipate and not attract other bears.

As for the trail, it will remain closed until park officials confirm the identity of the killed bear and "the site poses no additional risk to staff and visitors," the bulletin says. The Canadian side of the trail is expected to reopen by Sunday, it says.

The National Park Service said it had no additional information to add and would let the public know the entire trail officially reopened.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.

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