One of the best ways to watch grizzly bears feed on salmon is from an elevated viewpoint on a river. We are fortunate to be located right on the Atnarko River: a pristine, spring-fed waterway that connects to the Bella Coola River and Pacific Ocean. In late summer, millions of salmon swim from the ocean and up through the Atnarko and its side channels. As this river is narrow, it concentrates the fish in a relatively small area, making it fertile hunting waters for grizzly bears!
Tweedsmuir Park Lodge is quite unique when it comes to bear viewing lodges as we have a viewing platform that guests can wander down to when not on a guided tour! This means you do not need to wait to go out on tour to see bears like at most bear viewing lodges. We also have a second platform that must be accessed with a guide for safety reasons.
The following is our press release about the first of our 2 platforms;
Take bear viewing to new heights on our new Wildlife & Grizzly Bear Viewing Station
Aug. 26, 2013, Bella Coola, BC – Guides and guests are experiencing the elevated benefits of the new Wildlife & Grizzly Bear Viewing Platform at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge as hungry grizzly bears searching for their daily calories feast on record numbers of pink salmon making their spawning trek up the Atnarko River.
As the apex predator of British Columbia, the grizzly bear has long been sought after by visitors carrying multiple camera lenses. Capturing this majestic animal in its natural setting through the lens of a camera can be one of life’s most thrilling experiences for both professional and novice photographers. Tweedsmuir Park Lodge’s Wildlife Viewing Station was made with photographers in mind. There is room for photographers to set-up their tripods under the covered and elevated structure and extra wide railings for those without tripods.
“Safety for our guests and wildlife is the most important aspect of our business,” says Tim Wilkinson, sales and marketing director for Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. “It used to be that if guests wanted to see grizzlies, they would have to venture into the wilderness and risk accidentally surprising a bear. We have built the viewing platform to offer a safer and more comfortable place to watch these amazing creatures in action, as well as be less intrusive to the bears.” Tweedsmuir Park Lodge and cabins are situated in a semi-circle with a grass and clover field in the middle; clover is a favourite snack for young cubs and their mothers. The openness of the field and plentiful food make a relaxing environment for the bears and offers the lodge’s guests the chance to see grizzlies from the comfort of their chalet. The walk from the lodge to the bear Viewing Station is bordered with a non-intrusive electric fence, so even when guests are out of the lodge area the threat of an unexpected wildlife encounter is low.
Although grizzly bear viewing is the bucket list item for many of the guests at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, many other wildlife viewing opportunities exist alongside the majestic animal. Guests might also have the chance to see black bears, otters, mountain goats, wolves, kingfishers and birds of prey including bald eagles. “Many people come for the grizzly bears and leave with an appreciation for the whole ecosystem we have up here,” says Wilkinson.