Hiking in the Inland Northwest? Be bear aware


(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. -The Idaho Panhandle National Forests have issued a warning for everyone who is thinking of hitting the trails this summer to be bear aware. This comes after two different bear encounters, and this warning can be applied all over the Inland Northwest.

Liberty Lake has a sign up at the county park saying that there was a bear sighting on June 22 on the Edith Hansen trail.

Ryan Whitted brings bear spray with him whenever he goes hiking.

“I carry it so I can quickly access it because I’m bear-phobic,” he says.

That’s because he’s come across dozens of bears on his hikes before in Colorado and California.

So here’s advice from officials if you are out hiking in bear country:

  • “Remember, all wildlife can be dangerous.  Please do not approach or feed wild animals, especially bears.  Humans aren’t the only ones that enjoy the warmer weather.  Wildlife—our year-round residents on National Forests—are more active in the summer. 
  • We love huckleberries, and, so do bears.  With what appears to be a bumper huckleberry crop this year, be extra careful and alert when picking berries.
  • Bears are generally shy creatures and don't want to come face-to-face with you any more than you want to meet up with them.  Be sure to make noise when hiking in bear country: Talk, sing or clap your hands to let a bear know of your presence.
  • Store food in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof containers.  For more information, read the Idaho Panhandle National Forests’ Food Storage Requirements.  Proper food storage is required  if you’re recreating on national forest system lands north of Clark Fork, Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River.
  • If hiking with your dog, keep them on a leash, so that they don’t lead an angry bear back to you.”

For more information: http://www.bebearaware.org/index.html

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