Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Being Bear Safe

A bear incident in the Los Padres National Forest earlier this month serves as a reminder of the importance of bear safety in the outdoors.

In mid-October, a woman walking her dogs on the Gridley Trail near Ojai encountered a female black bear and her cub. The bear, probably startled and defending her cub from a perceived threat, scratched the woman and knocked her down, then fled. The woman was not seriously injured, but the Forest Service has closed the trail temporarily as a precaution.

Bears are common throughout the Los Padres, including the area around Three Falls. That's no reason to stay away -- the fact is, our bears are quite shy and bear encounters are rare in our area. I've camped hundreds of nights in the Los Padres and haven't seen one yet. But it pays to be careful. Don't hike alone, don't tempt bears by leaving food accessible around your campsite, and don't ever bring food into your tent.

The Forest Service has some good resources about bear safety, including videos and PowerPoints that should be useful for training Scouts, at this site.

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