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DINOSAUR I Superintendent Mary Risser of Dinosaur National Monument announced Friday that the two backcountry campsites at Ely Creek, located along the Jones Hole Trail, are closed until further notice due to black bear activity in the area.
“In an effort to reduce interactions between people and the bear and to reduce the possibility that the bear will get and become habituated to human food, we have decided to close the campground at least temporarily.” Risser said.
“We have had numerous sightings reported to park staff over the past few weeks,” she said. “The bear seem to be residing in the area. Park staff will not take reservations for the campsites, and any existing reservations are cancelled.
“We are stepping up our public education program, and the Jones Hole Trail remains open at this time,” Risser said. “The trail is very popular with fisherman and day hikers. The Jones Hole river campsites also remain open, but these sites are reserved for river rafting groups until the middle of September.”
Visitors to the popular Jones Hole Trail are advised to be on the lookout for black bears. Although visitors to Dinosaur National Monument may not think of the monument as “bear country,” frequent sightings confirm black bears do live here, Risser said, adding that hikers are encouraged to be alert for their presence and report bear sightings as soon as possible to a visitor center or ranger station.
Park visitors are reminded to store food, garbage, camp coolers and other items that can attract bears in bear-proof storage boxes or hang items in a bag from a tree as this helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods and helps keep park visitors and their property safe.
“Should you encounter a bear, never approach it,” Risser said. “You should leave the area immediately.”