Northwest

After bear threats, officials reopen Bull Trout Campground

How to handle bear encounters

Idaho Fish and Game provides tips for identifying black and grizzly bears and what to do when you encounter each.
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Idaho Fish and Game provides tips for identifying black and grizzly bears and what to do when you encounter each.

The Bull Trout Campground, near Stanley, reopened Friday after Forest Service officials were forced to close the campground due to two bears threatening the area.

Officials closed Bull Trout and the surrounding areas along National Forest Service Road 520 for almost two weeks.

After the bears started entering the campground, Idaho State Fish and Game caught and euthanized one bear because it had lost its fear of humans, destroyed private property and posed a potential threat to public safety.

The second bear has apparently left the area.

“This year, bears appear more prone toward human contact,” said Mike Feiger, Acting Lowman District Ranger, in a news release. “In spite of heavy precipitation experienced this past spring and winter, we’re finding that berry crops in traditional bear habitat have not fared well. Bears are seeking other food sources and in this, campers and campgrounds are an easy and attractive source.”

Bears possess an extremely keen sense of smell and can find food from great distances, according to the Forest Service. Once a bear finds food near humans, it is likely to come back again and again. Bears associating food with humans often results in a dangerous situation for both the bear and for people, officials warned.

Forest visitors must be vigilant about storing food, toiletry products and keeping a clean camp to avoid attracting black bears. For tips and techniques about camping in bear country, visit fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/bears or www.bebearaware.org.

For new reservations in Bull Trout, campers may call the Lowman Ranger District at 208-259-3361 until Tuesday. Reservations made after Tuesday will be made through www.recreation.gov.

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