Wildlife Officials Provide Bear Safety Tips


Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Press Release

A popular area in the Book Cliffs near Vernal has been closed to overnight camping.  The area remains open for day use, however.

The area affected by the closure—the PR Springs, Willow Canyon area—is on the north end of the Book Cliffs in eastern Utah.

The Bureau of Land Management enacted the closure after a black bear broke into two camp trailers in the area.

“We’ve set a trap,” said Boyde Blackwell, regional supervisor for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR).  “We hope to capture the bear soon.”

In the meantime, Blackwell reminds citizens that overnight camping is not allowed in the area. “And if you visit the area during the day, please be aware that an aggressive bear is in the area,” he stated.

Bear safety tips

Ron Stewart, regional conservation outreach manager for the UDWR, said the trailer break-ins are a reminder that Utah is black bear country.

“Bear safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Stewart explained. “The mountains, foothills, deserts and other wild places where Utahns and visitors like to visit and recreate are also home to wildlife. And that almost always includes a healthy population of black bears.”

Stewart said when a bear gets into trouble with people, it usually isn’t the bear’s fault. “Even though you might think your camp is clean, “ he said, “it might not be clean enough to keep a bear away. Bears can smell food sources from a couple of miles away.”

Stewart said the key to keeping bears out of a campsite or cabin area is cutting down on smells that might attract bears. Specifically, he encourages you to:

–  Store food and scented items, such as deodorants and toothpaste, in areas where bears can’t get to them. Inside a trailer or in the trunk of your car are good choices.

–  Keep cooking grills clean and clean anything used to prepare, eat or clean up food.

–  Keep campsites or cabin areas clean. Don’t toss food scraps and other trash around.

–  Never feed a bear.

More tips on how to stay safe in bear country—including what to do if someone encounters a bear while hiking—are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/learn-more/bear-safety.html.

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