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Snoqualmie River campground closes after unattended food repeatedly attracts bears

Bears have become habituated to food being left out in the open and unattended at the Middle Fork Campground, Ranger Martie Schramm told KING 5.
Credit: U.S. Forest Service
A bear rifles through the contents of a cooler.

NORTH BEND, Wash. — The U.S. Forest Service closed a campground along the Snoqualmie River, citing increased bear activity due to humans leaving food unattended. 

Bears have become habituated to food being left out in the open and unattended at the Middle Fork Campground, Ranger Martie Schramm told KING 5.

"This decision was not an easy one to make but one that we had to make out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the public and the bears," said Schramm.

No injuries have been reported.

The Forest Service will install food storage lockers at the campground in the "very near future," Schramm said. 

The hope is the visitors will use the facilities to store their food and the campground can be open next season.

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Bears that associate people with easy food sources can become dangerous. They are likely to be euthanized if they repeatedly return to an area occupied by humans in search of food, according to the Forest Service.

"Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear," a post from the USFS reads

Anyone camping or backpacking in areas home to bears should hang their food and trash, bring bear canisters or use bear lockers where available, and dispose of trash in appropriate receptacles.  

Cars can also be used to store items such as food, trash, cooking gear and toiletries when camping. The National Park Service recommends using the trunk, rolling up windows and locking the doors of your vehicle to secure it. 

Campers should also clean up immediately after meals, storing away food items and cooking equipment, and disposing of waste. 

For more tips on bears, visit the NPS page bear safety page.

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