Increased bear activity causes Waterton Canyon to close, Boulder residents on alert


Bears in Boulder

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LITTLETON, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife  officials closed Waterton Canyon to public recreation due to increased bear activity in the canyon, authorities announced on Friday.

“With the increased bear activity and high volume of visitors to the canyon, the decision to close Waterton Canyon was made to reduce the likelihood of a negative encounter from occurring,” said Melanie Kaknes, CPW district wildlife manager.

Two separate mama bears with twin cubs have been reported in the canyon, according to Denver Water officials.

Earlier Friday afternoon, a biker was chased by a bear in the canyon but no one was injured.

Denver Water and Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported the canyon will be closed to the public until further notice.

RELATED: Bear sightings become more common each day along the Front Range

Boulder City officials were also raising awareness of bears in public areas after an increase in human interaction and encounters.

Urban bear activity typically increases in late August when many bears enter the stage of hyperphagia, which is a period of excessive eating to fatten for hibernation, according to Boulder wildlife experts.

Officials expect another increase in activity this fall, because of a food shortage in natural areas.

The city also reminded residents that the Black Bear Protection Ordinance, requires all areas west of Broadway and south of Wonderland Lake to secure their trash and curbside compost from bears at all times.  Bear-resistant containers are usually effective, but must be latched closed and not overflowing to work.   For more information on the Boulder Ordinance click here.

Bears are usually cautious and non-aggressive and most of the time will shy away from people. If the public sees a bear entering buildings or displaying aggressive behavior, call the Boulder Police Department’s non-emergency dispatch at 303-441-3333.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to “bear proof” their property to minimize attraction. The following steps were advised by Boulder City Officials:

  • Using bear-resistant trash and compost bins and making sure latches are secure and bins are not overflowing
  • Not placing meat or sweet food scraps in compost piles
  • Leaving yard lights on at night
  • Removing food wrappers, coffee cups and anything with the slightest odor from cars and ensuring the doors are locked
  • Removing bird feeders and cleaning up spilled seeds on the ground
  • Keeping animals indoors, especially at night, and not leaving animal food or dishes outdoors
  • Cleaning up and/or storing outdoor grills inside after use
  • Picking up fruit from trees or vegetables from gardens so they do not rot on the ground

Click here, for information from Colorado Parks and Wildlife about camping and hiking in bear country.

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