- Ride your bike under control at all times. Reduce your speed on corners, narrow spaces or when approaching hikers.
- Select trails based on your ability and the degree of difficulty.
- Respect all trail and area closures.
- "Leave No Trace" by staying on the trail and carrying your garbage out with you.
- Be prepared.
- Weather can change quickly. Bring clothing for all weather conditions.
- Take a map and a basic survival kit.
- Pack extra food and water.
- Travel in a group.
- Make noise to let wildlife know you're in the area.
- Dogs must be kept on leash at all times.
- All wildlife can be dangerous. Do not approach, harass or attempt to feed wildlife or livestock.
- Keep a safe distance away while observing or taking photos of wildlife - at least 30 metres (100 feet) for animals such as deer and moose.
- Try not to unintentionally surprise a wild animal.
- Leave wildlife an escape route or line of travel.
- If you notice any signs of aggression or behavioural changes, move away to a safe location.
- If you notice a young animal by itself, leave it alone. Its parents are likely around and they are very protective. Give mothers and their young lots of room.
- Do not entice wildlife by reaching out or simulating calls.
- Moose, deer and other wildlife may appear docile. However, wildlife can be quite dangerous to humans and pets if they feel threatened. A pet's actions can provoke an attack. Always keep pets on a short leash.
- Report any wildlife sightings, encounters or unusual observation to park staff.
Cougars were historically found in the Cypress Hills. Today, occasional sightings of cougars are reported in the region, including in the park. Parks Division staff work to protect this species while minimizing risk to campers and area residents.
Leave the area immediately if you see a cougar or evidence of cougar activity. Please report sightings to park staff.
Download the Preventing Conflict with Wildlife-Cougars pamphlet.
Although the chance of seeing a cougar in the Cypress Hills is small
- Encourage children to play in supervised groups away from dense vegetation. Children should return inside before dusk.
- When walking or skiing in or near wooded areas
- Travel in groups
- Consider carrying a walking stick and pepper spray
- Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence
- Do not let dogs and cats roam freely. Free-roaming pets may attract and be attacked by cougars. Dogs and cats are easy prey for many predators. Bring pets in at night.
- Do not leave pet food and garbage outside. Always use wildlife-proof garbage bins.
- Avoid areas where carcasses have been left. Be aware that cougars often cover their food with forest debris.
If you see a cougar
- Never approach a cougar. Always leave plenty of room for it to easily escape.
- Face the cougar and slowly back away.
- Do not run or play dead.
- Gather up small children and pets.
- Make yourself appear larger by raising your arms or holding an object above your head.
- Actions such as shouting, waving a stick or throwing rocks may help prevent an attack. Try to look like another predator, not a prey.
- If a cougar attacks, fight back!
Winter conditions can change rapidly in the Cypress Hills so preparation is key. A warm sunny morning can quickly change into a raging blizzard, especially at the higher elevations.
- Bring along appropriate clothing and supplies that will help you adjust to changing conditions.
- Check local weather reports before venturing out to help ensure you are not caught off guard. Current weather conditions are included on the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park website.
- Most backcountry roads in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park are closed in the winter.
- Roads to Reesor Lake and Spruce Coulee Reservoir are kept open throughout the winter, depending on road and weather conditions. A four-wheel drive vehicle or one with chains is recommended in these areas.
- Check the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park website for road and trail reports. 511 has Alberta's official road reports, including for the Medicine Hat area.