Posted: Aug 19, 2011 11:39 AM by Kirsten Bennett
Mud Springs campground is closed now until Sept. 2 because of increased bear activity.
Because of that activity and a recommendation from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management has closed the popular campground. 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.
The bears have been raiding campgrounds in search of food because of the recent lack of natural food sources. 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: