Environmental Study: Overview

Cardston is a small town in Southern Alberta only 50 km East of Waterton Lakes National Park.

Students study the Municipal District map.The people of Cardston and the smaller communities around Cardston, those using the Community Pasture (graizing lands) and people living in some areas on the Kainai Reserve have noticed a large increase in the bear population.

Conflict Grows

These bears have presumably wandered out of the protected areas of Waterton Lakes / Glacier International Peace Park and several provincial parks and wilderness areas.

The population of Cardston and the surrounding area is increasing as more people are attracted to living in a more rural setting.

Conflicts between bears, who are looking for an easy food source, and humans, who want to protect their livelihood and lifestyle, are bound to increase.


We asked:

  • Is it that people's food (gardens, farms) or garbage become bear attractants which bring the bears in conflict with humans?
  • Should we find out why this is occurring?
  • Certainly we are grateful bears are still on the landscape. Would we respect our wilderness as much and value its beauty as a place of hallowed solitude if the great bear was no longer with us?
  • Would the forest ecosystem itself be effected by the loss of this amazing animal?
  • Are there other reasons we need to explore?

What We Did

We've tried to gather as much information as possible from all sides of the issue. We've invited a Fish and Wildlife Officer, a Hunter and a Conservationist and collected opinions of the community by conducting a telephone survey.

We summarized our information and published several pamphlets guiding people to avoid conflicts with bears and we wrote to Ted Morton, the Minster for the Environment.