here are some tips to stay safe

Utah is home to black bears. For those new to the world of bears, that doesn’t mean bears are black. They can be brown, red, or even blond. But all the bears here are technically black bears.

Scott Root, outreach officer for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says Utah hasn’t had grizzly bears in a century, so people don’t have to worry about encountering them. in nature.

Although bears tend to avoid humans, they can be disconcerting to encounter, especially around your yard or on a trail.

There have been more bear sightings than usual in Summit County this summer, which Root says is likely due to drought affecting their natural food sources and pushing them into more populated areas. looking for something to eat.

Root confirmed that several bears have been spotted in the county in recent weeks. He said that once a bear finds something to eat in a particular area, like your trash can, it will rely on it for more food and hang around – which isn’t good for anyone.

“As they say, a fed bear is often a dead bear, and we don’t want to do that,” he said. “We want the bears to stay wild and loose in that forest above us, but once they start coming to town and they’re rewarded, it usually doesn’t go well for that bear.”

To avoid killing bears that have become a nuisance, DWR teams can trap them alive and relocate them. But if bears become aggressive in protecting a food source they discover, they become a danger to public safety and may need to be euthanized.

Root said none of the bears that have been sighted locally are targeted for euthanasia; the DWR tries to trap them alive.

Local bears behave as wildlife experts expect: they feed. A recent incident occurred at a trash party, and with all the cans out, there were plenty of opportunities to find food.

Root advised leaving trash cans in garages until the morning of pickup and offered other tips to make his property less attractive to bears.

“Keep your gardens clean,” Root said, “and when I say keep your gardens clean, keep your barbecue grills clean, you might have to knock down your hummingbird theater and your bird feeders, which is like a sacrilege to me because I’m a big bird lover, or also keep your pet’s food in the garage and keep your pets indoors if possible.You don’t want to have a small dog or a unsupervised cat in your yard if you have a bear in the area.

Some residents are more curious than apprehensive and want to know exactly where bears have been sighted. But Root said no one was getting his contact information.

“Well, we just don’t want people to know, because there are a lot of curious people out there who want to see the bear know, if we have a trap, maybe sabotage it or something. Those things happen. The thing is, we’ve had at least three different areas in Park City, so I’d just say pretty much the whole city is close to at least one bear as well.”

Root encourages people to make noise on the trails to let wildlife know you are coming. He advised carrying bear spray in an easily accessible place, such as a fanny pack, and avoiding hiking alone. During bear encounters, he said to hold your ground, raise your arms to look bigger, and make a lot of noise while shouting.

With black bears, you’re not supposed to play dead if they approach you — Root says hit back.

Visit for more information and bear safety tips.

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Edward L. Robinett