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Black bear sighted at Beaver Creek Park


Havre Daily/Ryan Welch

Beaver Creek Park officials are taking some steps to help people avoid problems with bears.

A black bear was recently spotted in Beaver Creek Park, a Thursday afternoon press release from the park said. The bear was seen on the south end of the park near Blackie Coulee.

"As far as I know, this is the first confirmed sighting in a long time," said Aubrey Williams, assistant to the superintendent of Beaver Creek Park.

Park officials announced they are removing trash receptacles and putting in a pack in-pack out policy south of Lions Campground to reduce the chance of attracting bears.

Representatives of the local Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks office could not be reached for comment by deadline this morning, but a state official listed some reasons a bear might head to the park.

"It's not extremely common to have black bears in that area," said Greg Lemon, a spokesman from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks headquarters.

He added that sightings do happen though.

A bear would come to an area that it does not usually inhabit because of three different reasons, Lemon said.

"Food, shelter and security," he said. "It is one of those."

After a bear sighting, Lemon added, visitors and campers of the park need to be vigilant.

"Be aware that there may be bears. Keep animals on a leash, keep your area clean ... keep food stored in a container, not just in your tent," he said.

"For example," Lemon added, "people love s'mores; they get all gorged up on s'mores and then they leave the marshmallows and chocolate out all night ... that is candy to a bear."

The park press release echoed Lemon's comment.

"Just a quick reminder to keep a clean camp and secure all food items inside campers or vehicles," the release said. "Clean up thoroughly after barbecuing or preparing food."

"Be aware of your surroundings," Williams added.

If a person sees a bear, they should calmly back out of the area and report the sighting, she said.

Sightings can be reported to the Park Office at 395-4565 or Montana FWP at 265-6177.

For more information about being safe, people can visit "Be Bear Aware" at  http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware/.


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