SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — U.S. Forest Service staff have seen an increase in reports of bear sightings this summer at campsites in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
According to the forest service, much of this is happening at the Middle Fork Campground, and the bears have been attracted to the sites, because people are not properly storing their food.
Bears are getting into dumpsters and even getting close to tents where people are sleeping.
According to Jesse Plumage, a wildlife biologist with the forest service, the bears typically flee when they see humans, but he's worried this may not continue.
"We don't want bears getting habituated to people giving them food, because they can get aggressive and actually come up to you and demand food," said Plumage. "Secure your food, don't leave it up on the picnic table, don't leave it unattended. Generally at the campgrounds you can lock your food in your car."
Plumage said forest service staff have been working on getting more bear-proof garbage cans to the campsites in the area.
If campers do come into contact with a bear, even if it seems tame, Forest Service staff said don't feed it, talk to it so it knows you are human, present yourself as big even if this means raising your hands, and no matter what happens do not run.