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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Black Bear up at Scenic



A black bear
One of our groups headed up to the hot springs was spooked by the sight of a black bear on the property .this past week

Black bears are common on the lower slopes of the Cascades . . . and Scenic is no exception.  Bears are territorial and over the years the lower slopes below Scenic have shared the area with noisy humans and a bear just trying to get enough food to feed her cubs.  The lone bears . . . female . . . have denned in the lower areas north of the clearcut.  Every couple of years we are blessed with sighting of cubs or yearlings.

Momma Bear likes to either tear up tree stumps for insects in the clearcut . . . or head up higher in search of berries.  As an aside, the areas slightly west toward Scenic Creek have a bonanza of huckleberries later on in the summer.

Backwoods etiquette makes sense.  Scenic is back country and you should be prepared.
  • Strong scents and food odors attract bears. Perfumes and scented sun screens are a no-no.
  • Bears avoid the areas of the trail and pools - they smell us. Occasionally you might see bear sign crossing the trail. The bear is just taking a shortcut when it doesn't think any of us are around.
  • Talk to each other on the trail.  The bear will here the noise and most likely be gone before you know it was there.
  • If you are feeling really nervous, invest in bear spray (available at REI  and other outdoors stores).  Another tip is to have a road flare available.  Bears are genuinely spooked by a lit flare.
  • If confronted by a bear, stand tall, make noise, and slowly back away.  Do not run . . . that does nothing by excite the chase reflex.

All in all, bears avoid us (or ignore us) with a live and let live attitude.  Give them their space and you'll do fine.