(CBS4) – Colorado residents are being warned to be on the lookout following an increase in bear activity around the state.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife is asking campers to be more careful after increased reports of bears getting into improperly stored food in trees and tents with scented items at campsites in Boulder, Clear Creek and Larimer counties.
CPW and the United States Forest Service have observed issues on Roosevelt National Forest Service campgrounds. Reports are coming from sites such as Lost Lake, Ceran St. Vrain and the Middle St. Vrain Creek drainage upstream from Camp Dick, Olive Ridge and Meeker Overflow campgrounds; Beaver Reservoir road dispersed camping area, Rock Creek road dispersed camping area and Crater Lakes in James Peak Wilderness. Additional issues have come from the Pawnee Campground at Brainard Lake, West Chicago Creek, Columbine and Pickle Gulch in Clear Creek County and multiple reports in Dowdy, West Lake and Chambers Lake in Larimer County.
The Forest Service is also reporting increased black bear activity in and around Blue Lakes in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness due to visitors improperly storing and disposing of food.
The Service says food-conditioned bears may become bold or aggressive to obtain human food which can be dangers for people their property and their pets. It could also lead to the bear being euthanized.
“I’m not sure why but we have seen a significant increase in bears seeking food in tents, backpacks and camps in general in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests,” said Kristin Cannon, area wildlife manager for CPW. “People planning on camping in this area should be extra cautious and take care to store food, trash and toiletries in provided bear lockers or canisters. These items should never be stored in a tent, especially not this summer.”
CPW says anyone who has encountered bears to report it immediately at 303-291-7227, Colorado State Patrol at 303-239-4501, or for emergencies 911.
CPW says there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of encountering a bear.
- Store food, beverages and toiletries in airtight containers and place in provided campsite lockers, or use bear-proof containers stored at least 150 yards away from your tent. Lock it in your trunk only as a last resort.
- Don’t bring food or anything with a scent, such as sunscreen, sanitizer or lip balm into your tent.
- Use the bear-proof trash receptacles at the campground. If no trash receptacles are available, double bag your trash and lock it in your vehicle, or use a bear-proof container.
- Scrape grill grates after use, clean all dishes and utensils, and ensure you have cleaned up any waste near your site.
- Locl your vehicle and close all windows whenever you leave your site or before going to sleep at night.
- If you have evidence that a bear has been in the area recently, leave and choose another campsite. If you see a bear, try to haze it away with loud noises such as yelling, banging pots and pans together or using your car horn or an air horn. Be sure to notify the campground, nearby campers and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.