The U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are stressing bear safety when camping after some recent sightings on Grand Mesa.

The Grand Valley District of the Grand Mesa, Umcompahgre and Gunnison National Forests and Colorado Parks and Wildlife late last week alerted the public to some increased bear activity near the Cobbett and Ward campgrounds.

The Forest Service received information about bear sightings and a notice that a black bear had gotten into the Ward campground and was rummaging through a cooler, according to forest service spokeswoman Kimberlee Phillips.

Phillips said bear sightings around these camps is uncommon.

"We don't usually have a lot of bear activity," she said. "I think there were some who were not following the 'bear aware' rules."

According to a press release from the Forest Service and CPW, improper food storage and disposal can result in bears becoming food-conditioned and could pose a threat to people and their pets.

This can also lead to a bear being euthanized.

The two organizations ask that people only have out food they are using. Any unused food should be put in storage. Campers should not leave out other items such as toothpaste, soap or lotion as they can also attract bears.

When using a grill, a camper should let it burn a few extra minutes to cook off grease and get rid of smells. The grill should also be cleaned after each use.

Food should always be kept within an arm's reach and campers should not turn their back on their food.

If leaving the camp, food should be stored in a canister, hung in a tree at least 10 feet high and away from the trunk or locked in a car inside a cooler.

Keep the camp clean and do not use fire rings to get rid of any food or grease.

If approached by an aggressive bear, try to intimidate it by shouting loudly and raising your arms above the head.

If the bear charges, throw rocks, branches or other objects at the bear.

Do not run. Fight back if attacked and try to remain standing while protecting the head and neck.

For more information visit cpw.state.co.us.

Recommended for you