Skyler Mechelle Weinberg, left, and Sara McKenzie say their encounter with a wolf on a hike near Yale has left them in awe and with respect for the (Emelie Peacock photo)

Hope hikers encounter wolf near Alexandra Bridge

Wolf sightings uncommon, number of wolves growing in B.C.: conservation officer

Two Hope hikers were left awestruck after an encounter with what they are sure was a grey wolf.

Partners Sara McKenzie and Skyler Mechelle Weinberg were on a hike near Alexandra Bridge January 3. When they were down on the train tracks to take a few photos, they spotted what McKenzie at first thought was a coyote.

“About 25 metres away was what my brain told me was the biggest coyote I have ever seen in my life, in the middle of the train track, just staring at us,” she said, describing the animal as grey and brownish in colour, a long face and smaller ears. “My first thought was how do coyotes get that big.”

Before the panic set in, there was a moment of awe for both of them.

“There was a magical moment, it’s almost ethereal to be surrounded by silence in the middle of the woods and on train tracks and look behind you and see this creature that we’re taught to fear and also in awe of. It’s divine to witness that in nature,” Mechelle Weinberg said.

McKenzie then acted on what she had previously been told about wild animals, she made herself large and let out a low holler. When the animal didn’t retreat but instead started following them, McKenzie knew it was time to run.

They ran to where their car park, the animal following behind them and getting within 100 metres at one point. After the encounter, they called the Conservation Officer Service, who told the two it was highly unlikely that they had seen a wolf.

Wolf sightings are extremely rare in the Hope area said Bob Butcher, Sgt. for a zone that ranges from Chilliwack to Lillooet. He said two reports of wolf sightings have been received for the area this past year; one of a wounded wolf near Hells Gate and another of a pack of wolves in west Harrison.

Wolves exist across B.C. and are increasing in number, he said, for a variety of reasons that could include changing wolf management practices and the lower prices for fur.

They won’t be found in urban environments, he added, as they don’t adjust as well as coyotes do to these places.

Both McKenzie and Mechelle Weinberg are sure they saw a wolf that day.

Both have had nightmares involving coming face-to-face with a wolf since the encounter but are not deterred from going hiking in the wilderness. Proper preparation, respect and bear mace in the worst case is how they will prepare next time.

“We do want to honour the trails that we hike and the spaces that we inhabit and be aware of what we’re connecting with, whether its an animal or someone’s home or sacred land,” Mechelle Weinberg said.

Butcher said it is extremely rare for a wolf to be dangerous to humans. Wolves may express interest if hikers are out with small dogs they see as prey, or if the wolf has a den nearby they may keep an eye on people until they leave.

Butcher recommended people living in rural areas should ensure their domestic animals and livestock are fenced in and ensure food sources are not left out. Keep dogs, especially smaller ones, and children close during walks in the wilderness as well.

“If they’re not purposely fed and become conditioned to human food sources, they’re not a danger to people. Attacks on people with wolves are extremely rare,” he said.


The grey wolf is somewhat of a misnomer, conservation officer Bob Butcher says, as the animal’s fur can be brown, black or white fur. The numbers of these wolves are growing in B.C. (Wikimedia commons photo)

Just Posted

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

VIDEO: Olympic medalist teaches swimming in Hope

Brent Hayden fondly remembers local swim meet from his youth

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

VIDEO: LEGO fundraiser builds playground purse

Inspired families built LEGO creations, helped Silver Creek build playground

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Langley City hits up province for share of pot revenue

The province says it understands municipalities will face extra costs when marijuana is legalized.

B.C. climber remembered for gentle spirit, love of mountains

Marc-André Leclerc had been hearing the call of the mountains since childhood

Proposed gun bill attacked by gun owners and shooting victims

The federal government tabled the bill today in order to tighten the sale and tracking of firearms

New anti-radicalization centre in the works for B.C.

Centre aims to help ‘vulnerable individuals of the path to radicalization’ before they turn to crime

B.C. bravery, public service honoured by Governor General Julie Payette

UVic basketball coach Kathryn Shields inducted into Order of Canada

Sea lion with rope wrapped around neck saved by Vancouver Aquarium

Steller sea lions are a species of special concern and some populations are endangered in parts of Alaska

Most Read