Camping closed at Utah’s Book Cliffs because of bears

No overnight camping is being allowed at a campground in eastern Utah’s Book Cliffs after a black bear broke into two unoccupied camping trailers.

Daytime visits to the PR Springs and Willow Canyon areas are still allowed, but Utah wildlife officials say visitors should be cautious until the bear is captured.

The area is on the north end of the Book Cliffs, about 24 miles north of Thompson Springs on Interstate 70.

In 2009, the area was approved for the site of the nation’s first tar sands mine.

A previous tar sands venture was abandoned in 1983.

Damage from the bear was limited to rummaging through cupboards and some chewed cans, Utah wildlife officials said.

Ron Stewart, a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources outreach conservation manager, said the bear climbed in through the top of one camper after removing a skylight.

“We’ve set a trap,” said Boyde Blackwell, regional supervisor for the Utah DWR. “We hope to capture the bear soon.”

Blackwell cautioned day visitors to “please be aware that an aggressive bear is in the area.”

Stewart said the trailer break-ins are a reminder Utah is black bear country.

“Bear safety is everyone’s responsibility,” he said. “The mountains, foothills, deserts and other wild places where Utahans and visitors like to visit and recreate are also home to wildlife.

“And that almost always includes a healthy population of black bears.”


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