Be aware of bears!
There have been a number of unwelcome interactions with bear at local campgrounds over the last month, warranting a mention in Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer report and a U.S. Forest Service “Special Bear Alert.” Bears determined to be “bothersome” have been spotted in the Clearwater Lake area in Grand Marais, the Kimball Lake campground in Grand Marais and at the east end of Caribou Lake have been visiting campsites and portages.
The Forest Service issued the bear alert for Clearwater Lake and the east end of Caribou Lake.
DNR Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman reported that he had assisted campers with an aggressive bear at Kimball Lake campground. The campers said that the bear wouldn’t let them pack up and leave. Every time they got out of their vehicle to pack up, the bear charged in and got up on its hind legs to chase the campers back to their vehicle. The CO and a Cook County deputy responded to help the men pack up and go to another campground.
Reached by phone a few days later, CO Fagerman said this is the same location where a local waster hauler was chased around his truck last year.
Fagerman said it was a small bear and it has not bothered other campers at Kimball Lake, including one staying there at the time of the incident. The second group had a dog, Fagerman said, so that may have discouraged the bear from approaching that campsite.
The Forest Service alert reminds forest visitors to watch for signs of bear activity in places where food may be available. The alert reminds visitors to follow bear country guidelines such as using bear resistant food containers, storing food in car trunk, never leaving food unattended, and not storing food in tents. The Forest Service also advises campers—especially those in remote or wilderness campsites—to hang food packs in nearby trees properly.
Anyone who would like more information on properly storing camp food and other items that could attract bears are asked to contact the Gunflint Ranger District at 218-387-1750 or visit the Gunflint station, open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.