Bears in Campgrounds

Please keep bears wild. Be Bear Aware when camping!

It would be very exciting, to some people, to see a bear in the wild.  But seeing a bear in your tent is quite a different story.  Bears near, or in, Forest campgrounds are more common than you may think.  Many, if not most, developed campgrounds are in bear territory.  Bears are to be respected and maybe a little bit of healthy fear is good.  But don't let it stop you from camping.  Here's a little about bear behavior to keep you safe:

Bears are attracted to food by sight as much as smell.  It takes a bear one experience to learn what a food source looks like.  If it has gotten a sugary drink out of a soda can, it will be attracted to soda cans whether they are full or empty and whether they are soda or beer cans.  They puncture the cans with their claws.  The same goes for a cooler or plastic container in your campsite, tent or car.    (No, it would not be a fun experiment to bait a bear in with beer cans to see if you can get him drunk.  You don't have enough beer.)

If you see a bear near a campground, do not wait to see what it is going to do.  Make noise and wave your arms (enlist the help of your neighbors) to make it afraid of humans.

When bears are comfortable around humans or human structures, their chance of finding the wrong kind of food increases and endangers their life as well as ours.

photo by Tom & Cindy Bright, 2014 Area Managers

photo by Tom & Cindy Bright, 2014 Area Managers

If you see a bear in or near your campground, tell the Campground Manager.  They will help scare it away and they may have tools that make a louder noise.  The managers will also be able to tell about earlier sightings and how to keep safe.

Also, a bear does what a bear's got to do.  The one pictured above killed a fawn near a campground.  Campground managers work closely with Forest Service and wildlife authorities who monitor these very dangerous situations.  When necessary, a bear will be trapped and removed from a campground.

Read more about camping in bear country:  Be Bear Aware