ESTES PARK, Colo. — One of Colorado’s most famous hotels has experienced a dozen bear encounters since late August, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Friday.
The first happened on Aug. 23, when a bear got into the hotel’s lobby. The incident received significant media coverage.
Below is a list of other bear encounters at or near the hotel in the days since the lobby incident, according to CPW. The agency believes the same bear is involved:
- Aug. 25: An Estes Park Police Department officer hazed the bear near the Birch Ruins south of the hotel.
- Aug. 26: A manager said the bear went into the “lodge” building “a few days after” the Aug. 23 incident (making Aug. 26 an estimate of when the event happened). The animal went up an exterior staircase and entered the building’s third-floor hallway.
- Sept. 1: Around 10 p.m., the bear got into two unsecured trash cans on Big Thompson avenue. Wildlife officers chased it away from the shopping center.
- Sept. 14: Around 8 p.m., the bear came within 50 yards of a tour group.
- Sept 16: Shortly after 4 a.m., the bear returned to the Stanley Hotel lobby and ballroom. It got into cupcakes and other food. The animal barricaded itself inside and EPPD officers lured the bear out with the cupcakes and exposed it to pepper spray.
- Sept. 16: During the evening, an employee encountered the bear. The employee banged on the lid of a trash can, but the animal did not react. The employee threw the lid at the bear and it “bluff charged” the employee.
- Sept. 16: Between 9 and 9:30 p.m., a man was laying on the couch and watching TV inside the employee dorm house. He heard sniffing behind him and thought it was a dog. The bear sniffed and brushed the back of the man’s head, making contact with it. The man turned around and screamed. The bear then ran outside and stopped on the other side of the road.
- Sept. 17: Around 2:15 a.m., the near knocked over a grease bin and ripped up siding on a walk-in freezer. Upon arrival, a wildlife officer spotted the bear nearby but was unable to haze it.
- Sept. 20: The bear knocked over a trash can. EPPD officers hazed the bear with a rubber shot and gave the Stanley Hotel a citation.
- Sept. 24: Around 1 a.m., the bear got into food left outside from a banquet.
- Sept. 24: Between 1 and 1:30 a.m., the bear broke into the owner’s condominium through a window that was left cracked open and got into the kitchen trash. The owner scared the bear back out the window.
CPW officers are trying to catch up with the bear. A trap was set up, but it has since been removed.
According to Stanley Hotel Vice President Reed Rowley, there has recently been an increase in bear activity in the Estes Park area. He said the hotel is monitoring the situation.
Rowley said that per the suggestion of CPW, the hotel has done some bear proofing, including the addition of new door locks, more secure trash bins and a wildlife sensor.
Rowley said the hotel is working with EPPD and CPW to monitor bear activity in the area.
CPW spokesperson Jason Clay said while wildlife officers will make a decision based off administrative directives, the bear is likely to be euthanized if it is captured due to its history of dangerous incidents.