Recreational users are advised that the Pebble Creek/Keyhole Falls hot springs trail is closed until further notice to all visitors, due to the presence in the area of numerous aggressive black bears and grizzly bears with cubs.
The Pebble Creek/Keyhole Falls trailhead is located at the 42-kilometre mark of the Upper Lillooet Forest Service Road, northwest of Pemberton. This closure was prompted after several encounters with bears, including a confirmed report of a bear-charge incident, that were attracted by the presence of human food and garbage at the hot springs.
Recreation areas need to be free of these types of attractants for a period of time, or the bears will start to permanently associate the area with food. Unfortunately, any visits are potentially dangerous and will ultimately encourage bears to stay in the area.
Warning signs were posted at the trailhead several weeks ago, but were repeatedly removed. Removal of such signs is an offence under the Forest Recreation Regulation, and subject to a $58 fine. The trail will remain closed until the district recreation officer has confirmed that the bears have moved away from the area.
This is the second recreation area in the Sea to Sky district to be closed this year due to food-conditioned bears. The High Falls recreation site, located at the five-kilometre mark of the Squamish River Forest Service Road, was closed on June 16 due to the presence of a grizzly bear. Irresponsible use of district recreation areas could result in human-bear conflicts and/or bears being euthanized.
Natural resource officers and conservation officers are enforcing both closures, and will issue violation tickets to anyone caught ignoring the restrictions. Use of either recreation area is an offence under Section 23 (2) of the Forest Recreation Regulation, and subject to a $115 fine. Leaving food, garbage or other wildlife attractants is an offence under Section 33.1 (2) of the Wildlife Act, and subject to a $345 fine.
Recreation Sites and Trails BC: http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/
Forest Recreation Regulation: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/legsregs/archive/fpc/fpcaregs/forrec/frr.htm