Bears Close California Campground

Moutains Local News, Bear Hunting Magazine

A bear scare has closed a picnic area and some hiking trails in a San Bernardino Mountains community in southern California and a state biologist blames people who have been feeding the bears. Forest Falls is a popular area to hike and camp, but now it is shut down by the U.S. Forest Service.

"You'd never feed a rattlesnake around your picnic area, but apparently some people think it's cute with a bear," said biologist Kevin Brennan of the California Department of Fish and Game.

Since at least last month, Brennan said, the bear has been finding easy meals in the Falls Day-Use Area, a picnic area at the upper end of the main road through Forest Falls, a mountain town between Yucaipa and Big Bear City. The area was closed July 7.

"No one has been hurt, and the bear appears to be no threat to residents. But it has learned to stand its ground and even "bluff charge" people to chase them away from their food, Brennan said. If the increasingly aggressive behavior continues, someone is likely to get hurt," he said.

Brennan stated, "You can trace almost every bear problem in the U.S. back to improper garbage storage or intentional feedings."

Options are being considered, but the Fish and Game Department has not stated what they will choose to do as once an issue such as this becomes a safety concern it is turned over to them from the Forest Service.

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