School lockouts lifted after bear captured in Arvada creek

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ARVADA, Colo. -- A bear caused the lockout of two schools in Arvada on Thursday morning. Ralston Valley High School and Meiklejohn Elementary School did not allow any students outside for about two hours beginning at 8 a.m.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife was notified of the bear by Arvada Police Department after it was spotted in a creek behind the high school.

“We all thought it was cool,” sophomore Mitchell Ferguson said. “There’s a bear in the backyard.”

The students said there was some concern at the start of the lockout, until they found out the cause.

“You didn’t know what it was, and then somebody said there’s a bear and it was like oh man, I want to go out and look at it. I don’t want to stay inside,” Ferguson said.

Parks and Wildlife and police eventually surrounded the female bear in a nearby creek and used a tranquilizer dart to put her to sleep.

Parks and Wildlife examined the bear and found she had severely deteriorated teeth and was very lethargic. CPW concluded it would not survive on its own in the wild, so the bear was euthanized.

“I think it’s officially now the biggest bear season since I’ve been here in nine years,” Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said.

At 15 years old and 200 pounds, it was the second bear this week that was caught in Arvada.

“We’ve got this kind of shortage in our foothills here in the front range, so the bears are going to places they normally don’t,” Churchill said.

Residents in the area didn’t seem too concerned but more entertained.

“It seemed like they had the bear surrounded by Ralston Valley pretty quick and had it under control, so nothing really to worry about, just pretty exciting stuff,” a neighbor said.