Popular Waterton Canyon recreation area near Denver closed after bear chases cyclist

American black bears are notorious scavengers, and their habit of seeking out human food nearly always ends badly. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
American black bears are notorious scavengers, and their habit of seeking out human food nearly always ends badly. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.

Wildlife managers have closed several areas this summer due to bear activity and to avoid unwanted encounters

Staff Report

FRISCO — After earlier summer closures of popular national forest areas due to close encounters with bears, Denver Water and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have decided to close Waterton Canyon to public recreation until further notice — for the same reason.

According to a release from Denver Water, there are two sows, each with twin cubs, and other bears actively foraging in the canyon. Friday afternoon, a biker was chased by a bear in the canyon. No one was injured.

“With the increased bear activity and high volume of visitors to the canyon, the decision to close Waterton Canyon was made to reduce the likelihood of a negative encounter from occurring,” said Melanie Kaknes, CPW district wildlife manager.

“Based on the recommendation of wildlife experts, we determined it is best to close the canyon at this time for the safety of the public and well-being of the wildlife,” said Brandon Ransom, Denver Water’s manager of recreation.

For information from Colorado Parks and Wildlife about camping and hiking in bear country, visit http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeCampingBearCountry.aspx.

Earlier this summer, a bear bit a camper inside a tent at a food-strewn campground near Glenwood Springs. Several other campgrounds in the Aspen area were also closed when bears and humans crowded too close together.

Bears actively forage all summer long, but in the late summer and fall, they’re particularly hungry as they prepare for hibernation.

 

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