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I am considering a trek in August/September in the Mealy Mountains and English Mountains in Labrador (Canada's newest National Park; for info see 1, 2, 3). However, I am worried by the prospect of polar bears, so I wonder how frequent they are.

I have two data points:

  • Gros Morne National Park, almost 500 km south of the Mealy Mountains, rates polar bears there as accidental visitors (Occasional visitor, no permanent population).
  • Torngat Mountain National Park, roughly 600 km north of the Mealy Mountains, writes on their website: Visitors travelling and camping in the park are in polar bear country and are at high risk of encounters. Polar bears are almost always present along the north Labrador coast.

Where do the Mealy Mountains fit in during the ice-free season (August/September)? Are polar bears occasional visitors like in Gros Morne National Park, where it's arguably safe to hike without worrying about polar bears? Or are they closer to being permanently present, and is hiking alone without a guide very dangerous?

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There is always the potential - best guide is nunavikparks.ca/en/parks/planning-safety/wildlife/… –  Mapperz Apr 22 at 17:54
@Mapperz That relates to an area quite a bit further north. I know that the Torngat Mountains are unsafe, but summer in Newfoundland should be fine. The Mealy Mountains are in-between. –  gerrit Apr 22 at 18:04
Never underestimate the range of a hungry polar bear en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polar_bear_range_map.png would go with the guidelines of experienced guides. –  Mapperz Apr 22 at 18:26
@Mapperz I question the accuracy of those maps. I very much doubt polar bears reach Summit, Greenland at 350-500 km from the coast. I'm also pretty sure that summer visitors to Gros Morne National Park don't carry rifles, even if polar bears could go there occasionally. Nor do hikers on Iceland. I'm sure there should be some seasonality involved and it's not a black/white issue. –  gerrit Apr 22 at 18:30
@Mapperz I have rephrased the question entirely. There can be polar bears in the Mealy Mountains, as there can be on Newfoundland and Iceland. The question is how frequent they are. –  gerrit Apr 22 at 19:10

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