Bear watching at the Thornton Creek Hatchery - Canada

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At the information we over hear a story about the Thornton Creek Hatchery. This seems to be the ideal place to spot bears in autumn. We ask the ranger where we should be, and before we know we have the exact location of the Thornton Creek Hatchery.

In the B & B we get from Jennifer (the B&B owner) detailed information about the Pacific Rim National Park and Ucluelet. When we ask about the Thornton Creek Hatchery she asks where we got this information. The community is not happy with the amount of tourists that has been visiting the Thornton Creek Hatchery this year.

The Thornton Creek Hatchery is a salmon farm next to a nice stream with a beautiful waterfall at the end. The salmon continuously try to jump to the waterfall which obviously failed every time. The bears eat in the fall for their hibernation a lot of salmon, which provides a lot of nutrients. Bears come every year in the fall to the Thornton Creek Hatchery for the delicious salmon.

In the knowledge that we have respect for bears, we can drive there to. Once there, there are already a big amount of vehicles and we after 5 minutes we have already spotted our first black bear, and the second, and the third. We also spotted a mother with two cubs. The cubs quickly flights in the tree and moments later are brought to safety by their mother. Since people were standing between the mother and there cubs, close to the tree. The bears use the same path as the people who visit the Thornton Creek Hatchery, which lead regularly to very dangerous situations.

When we decide to leave and drive over the small off the dirt road, it is packed with cars and even campers. The Thornton Creek Hatchery is not suitable for such large numbers of tourists who have no idea that bears are wild animals.

Despite the fact that we have very enjoyed the bears and the salmon we went away with mixed feelings. Of course we didn’t want to miss the chance to spot bears close by, but we did see a lot of dangerous situations. We hope that the Thornton Creek Hatchery is not closed to visitors, but that the town of Ucluelet will have the means to let the bears eat, without the stress of too many people on their way. And if you go to the Thornton Creek Hatchery, respect the bears in their natural environment!

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