Bear Clan Patrol continuing to provide services in the winter

Natali Trivuncic
Staff Writer

The looming cold and snowy winter will not bury the Bear Clan Patrol Fort Frances’ efforts to provide their services to the community and keep Fort Frances’ streets clean.

The patrol group has been active in the area since 2017. The groups run regular group patrols, and also respond to reports of used needles, drug paraphernalia and other hazardous items found in the community.

Volunteers help to make the services possible, which includes collecting needles found on the street in the community and disposing of them properly, providing the homeless population with food, tents and other equipment and helping those in situations of domestic abuse.

“If they’re not able to find a suitable emergency situation for accommodations and if we have the funds, then we put them up in a hotel for a day or two until they can get things sorted out to find a safe place for themselves,” organizer James Eastman said.

As more snow falls on the ground, Eastman said they do their best to continue keeping the area clean by digging out dangerous items from the snow.

“It’s dangerous but at the same time we do it,” Eastman said.

While this is a necessary job, Eastman said they do have to keep the volunteer’s safety in mind and provide personal protective equipment such as high visibility gear, work gloves and other pieces of equipment such as rakes and trash pickers to keep volunteers safe while handling needles and other harmful objects.

Eastman said that COVID-19 restrictions have not severely impacted the way the programs are run. Aside from wearing a mask, Eastman said volunteers are already spread out while patrolling the community.

However, Eastman adds that it sometimes becomes tricky when they have to use vehicles, but they still follow safety protocols.

The program runs day through night and the traffic has been steady, Eastman said, with the Clan receiving calls almost every day.

The Bear Clan Patrol is a community-led initiative. It receives no outside financial assistance and relies solely on support from volunteers and local donations.

Donations help provide the clan with equipment, such as two-way radios, flashlights, magnetic flashing amber lights, batteries, office supplies and gas for vehicles during patrol. It also provides CPR and first aid training for volunteers.

Eastman said that although they share the name Bear Clan Patrol with other chapters, the Fort Frances Bear Clan Patrol is its own entity.

If you find needles or other drug related dangers in the community, or would like to volunteer or donate, can call the Fort Frances Bear Clan Patrol at 807-276-2332. They can also be reached through the Bear Clan Patrol Fort Frances Facebook page, or by e-mail at