More than two weeks after an aspiring filmmaker parked his Pontiac SUV at the edge of Seven Sisters Provincial Park, authorities have suspended their search for the 26-year-old Ohio man who was intent on getting footage of the rare Kermode bear.
No sign of Warren Sill was found after an extensive ground and air search began on July 10, New Hazelton RCMP have reported.
"Further search efforts will be considered should further information be received that may assist in identifying other possible search areas," Sergeant Jeff Pelley said in a release. The RCMP will continue to investigate Mr. Sill's disappearance.
Originally from North Ridgeville, a suburb of Cleveland, Mr. Sill was in the area working on a documentary on the Kermode or "spirit bear," a subspecies of black bear with a white coat. The rare beast is found almost exclusively in the Great Bear Rainforest, a 70,000-square-kilometre region that stretches along the B.C. coast between southeast Alaska and Vancouver Island.
Mr. Sill was last heard from by family and friends on July 4, when he told them he planned to explore the area around the provincial park for four or five days. His abandoned car was discovered by police at the entrance of Whiskey Creek Trail on July 10, five days after he was last seen in Prince George. After learning from Mr. Sill's family that he "was not a seasoned outdoors man," the RCMP became concerned – his sleeping bag, tent and camping stove were still in the vehicle.
BC Parks describes the Whiskey Creek Trail as a multi-day, 7.2-kilometre trek through "pleasant mature" forest before the trail comes to a "difficult creek crossing," followed by a steep ascent. The surrounding protected area is known for its grizzly and black bear population.
A graduate of Kent State University, Mr. Sill set out from his home in Ohio in June on his quest for the elusive bear.
He set up a Facebook account called "Warren Wild" to document his trip. One of his first posts depicts a close-up snap of a bear at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. "First of many black bear photos. Baby steps," he wrote in a June 8 post. Mr. Sill then headed north to Orr, Minn., to visit the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the only verified spirit bear sighting in the U.S.
Another photo, posted on June 19, shows an aerial shot of a black bear with the caption: "600 lb male black bear sending me up a tree haha."
Mr. Sill last posted a photo to the account on July 5 in Prince George.