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DWR Opens Campgrounds but Urges Caution

DWR Opens Campgrounds but Urges Caution

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Alex Cabrero ReportingHere's some good news for outdoor lovers -- all of Utah's campgrounds are open this weekend. A handful were closed last weekend because of concerns about bears.

Ever since that tragedy where an 11-year-old boy was killed by a bear last week, the Division of Wildlife Resources has been reviewing its bear warning policies. When it received reports that a bear was into campgrounds near Oakley recently, it decided to catch the bear and kill it.

Blake Pedro has only been a campground host for two weeks but already has seen something most hosts don't see in a lifetime. "I heard the trapdoor close and figured we must have the bear."

He was right. Pedro took photos of the small black bear after it was caught at the Ledgefork Campground near Oakley. "The bear seemed very calm at the time. It was a little scared, of course, because it didn't know what it was in," he said.

What it was in was a Division of Wildlife Resources trap. It was set because there have been reports of a bear being aggressive.

Justin Dolling, with the Division of Wildlife Resources, said, "It's been coming into the campgrounds, it's been feeding in dumpsters, it was reported this bear tried breaking into a cabin."

Dolling says after confirming it was the bear, it was categorized as a level 3 bear, meaning it had to be euthanized. "It doesn't have any fear of humans. It comes in close association with humans," he explained.

The DWR thinks that's because the bear has been eating human food left in campsites, and once that happens, it'll do anything to get more. That's why Ledgefork was closed last weekend.

Camper Jennie Siggard says that's fine with her, "I can understand why they'd close this campground."

Of course, the best way to keep safe when you're out camping, is to not leave any food in your campsite. That's not only for your safety, but for the bears' as well.

Dolling said, "Unfortunately, it's not the bear's fault. We had to euthanize that bear because it posed a future risk to the campground and to the general area."

That campground host also installed new chains and clip-locks on the garbages so bears can't get in them. Remember, camping and the outdoors is supposed to be fun, but we all have to remember it is called the wild for a reason. We just have to take precautions.

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