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How to Avoid luring bears to your campsite

After the Foxtrot Base Camp Bash, a lot of leftover hamburgers needed to be discarded. The bag was too heavy for a staff member to lift into the dumpster, so the bag was left next to the dumpster to be thrown away later.

By morning, the burgers were found spread around the field with the bag torn to shreds. Bear droppings were found around the dumpster where the burgers were left. One lucky bear got quite a meal that night.

Black bears are common around the Summit, and a mother bear and two cubs were spotted in Base Camp Foxtrot earlier in the week. Hikers have reported seeing bears.

“A fed bear is a dead bear,” said Michelle Bierstedt, a staff member at Nature at the Summit with Black Bear and Grizzly Bear training. She said that it is the policy of the Fish and Wildlife Service to neutralize a bear on their second interaction with it.

Once a bear finds food, it returns to that spot, expecting food to be there. A bear may return to a campsite and look for food in many places, including campers’ tents.

Smells attract bears. Small things like deodorant and toothpaste in your tent could attract a bear.

Remember what to do if you see a bear. Travel in groups, and bunch together when you see a bear. Make loud noises and don’t run away from the bear. Instead, slowly walk away backwards if you need to.

Leave no food outside or in your tent that could lure bears. “Remember,” Bierstedt said, “this is their home, not ours.”

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