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BEAR ACTIVITY PROMPTS MUD SPRINGS CAMP CLOSURE
8/19/2011
Credit:
DPW press release 08/19/11
BEAR ACTIVITY PROMPTS MUD SPRINGS CAMP CLOSURE

GLADE PARK, Colo. - Wildlife officers are warning campers on Glade Park in western Colorado about increasing bear activity. Because of that activity and a recommendation from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management has closed the popular Mud Springs campground until Friday, Sept. 2. The closure comes after several campers reported seeing bears that showed little fear of people. Those bears were reportedly entering campsites, raiding trash and coolers, and frightening some campers.

Because of the recent lack of natural food sources and the abundance of human food in easily accessible coolers and trash, bears have been raiding the campground in search of an easy meal.

Wildlife managers recommended the campground closure to protect people, eliminate the availability of human food and encourage bears to seek natural food sources, such as acorns, as they become more available.

"We had a late winter this year, and much of their natural food in this area is now just beginning to ripen," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke. "If we can condition the bears to eat natural food instead of food that a camper left out, it may help reduce conflicts in the future."

In the most recent incident in the campground, a bear charged at a woman and her dog while she was in her tent. The woman, who claimed to have some experience with bear behavior, reported that this bear was "aggressive" and did not show any fear of her or her dog, even after she yelled at it and hit it with a shoe. According to the woman, the determined bear circled the camp and tried to enter her campsite again a few hours later prompting her to take refuge in her vehicle, honking the horn in an attempt to scare it off.

"We don't like to close campgrounds, but the concerns about these bears made this decision easy," said BLM Assistant Field Manager Michelle Bailey. "We received advice that this was the best way to keep campers safe and protect the bears as well, and we will cooperate fully with wildlife managers."

Other sites in the area remain open. Campers are reminded that bears are common throughout Colorado, and it is the camper's responsibility to help reduce the possibility of an encounter with a bear by following these tips:

Stash Your Trash - Use bear-proof containers when available. If theyíre full, double bag trash and lock it in your trunk or RV. Never leave trash outside.

Store Attractants Safely - Store food, beverages and toiletries in air tight containers and lock them in the trunk of your car. Many bears have discovered that coolers, bags and boxes are full of food never leave them in your tent or anywhere a bear could see, smell or reach.

Keep a Clean Camp - Bears are attracted to odors of all kinds and will investigate anything interesting in hopes of finding food.

Keep a Clean Tent - Donít bring anything with an odor into your tentóthat includes all foods, bever≠ages, scented toiletries, gum, toothpaste, sunscreen, candles, and insect repellant. Donít sleep in the clothes you cooked in store them with your food.

Lock RVs and Vehicles - Close windows and lock your vehicle and RV when you leave your camp site and at night before you go to sleep.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers remind the public to report any serious conflict with wildlife immediately.

"If anyone sees a bear that seems aggressive, or shows no fear of humans, it is important to call us as soon as possible," continued Romatzke. "The sooner we can respond to deal with the situation, the less likely there will be a serious conflict, and the less likely that the bear will have to be put down."

For more information about the closure, contact BLM Public Affairs Specialist David Boyd at: 970-876-9008

For more information about camping in bear country, please visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/Pages/HikeCampBearCountry.aspx