Bear-Proofing Campgrounds – Still a Concern

June 27, 2013 by   - () Comments Off on Bear-Proofing Campgrounds – Still a Concern

Diagram shows a proper way to suspend food items from a tree out of the reach of bears.

When Caren Austin and her husband arrived last week at Difficult Campground near Aspen, Colo., they were prepared to enjoy a weekend of outdoor activities. Instead of relaxing around the campfire and taking a few casual hikes, Austin spent most of her four-day vacation worrying about bears.

“Personally, I just didn’t have that much fun,” Austin told the Aspen Times. “I was too paranoid about bear-proofing everything. I felt like I was on edge at all times.”

Austin, who lives in Arvada near Denver, never saw a bear, but heard them on several occasions. A bear tried to break into a car less than 30 feet from the Austin campsite, and set the car alarm off five times in one evening. The next day, a large black bear broke into a car in the Difficult day-use parking lot with several people watching. The bear bent a door and broke a window before leaving the lot with a bag of marshmallows in its mouth.

“If we come back to Aspen next summer, I doubt we’ll be camping,” Austin said. “We’ll be in a hotel or staying at a friend’s house.”

For the past month, there have been multiple bear sightings at the Difficult Campground, as well as several surrounding campsites. Weller Campground is close to Difficult and had to be closed from June 15 through June 22 so the Forest Service could fix and secure the bear-proof dumpsters at the campground.

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