Boo the Bear is one lucky and loved bear! Tucked away in an enclosure at the KIcking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, Boo has the entire refuge to himself to mosey around the enclosure. The habitat is the perfect area for a grizzly bear and the rangers do their best to ensure that Boo gets to live almost entirely like a bear would outside of the enclosure.
The enclosure is place above the Kicking Horse Resort right in the forest on the mountain. Originally the area was a popular spot for grizzlies and in turn it was turned into an enclosed and protected grizzly bear habitat. It is a refuge for orphan grizzly bears such as Boo. The refuge is open during the summer months, giving tourists a chance to view grizzlies, currently just Boo, interact and be natural in their environment . We got lucky and saw Boo play around in natural ponds that he hangs around in to cool off in the summer heat. We learnt that when winter comes around, Boo goes into his den that he made himself. You can take a tour with some of the rangers of the area and they give you more insight into Boo and his history and how long Boo has been there, so we won't spoil all of it for you.
The best times to go are right in the morning for the 10am or the 11am tour. Boo is the most active then before it gets too warm for him. During our tour, Boo decided to give himself a back rub against a tree and it was a neat thing to see in person. The rangers do feed Boo to help him get the food he needs for the winter but they toss it over the fence when Boo isn't around so Boo does not get dependent on them. They also stay true to the nature of bears and only give him what grizzlies would find in the wild. When we went at the end of August, they were feeding him berries to coincide with the berries that are growing around in the forests.
The Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge was created in July 3rd, 2003 with the arrival of Boo and his brother as little bear orphans. The 22 acre refuge was the perfect area for the 2 bears who were orphaned the year before when their mother was killed by a poacher. Boo's brother, Cari, passed away in the spring of 2004 in his den due to natural causes. Boo began the next summer season foraging and going about a bear's business solo but he has been resilient and strong and will continue to call the 22 acre of protected space his home.
The purpose of the Grizzly Refuge is to give orphan bears a chance of survival. Meanwhile, the staff gets to observe and learn more of the skill development and natural instincts of grizzlies in their habitat. It is a saving and learning experience and beneficial to everyone involved.
Visiting the refuge and seeing Boo was a unique experience and definitely one we recommend if you are in Golden. The ticket includes a chair lift to the enclosure, which that in itself is an adventure as you can see the beautiful views of the area!
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