Campground south of Carbondale closes after activity by ‘several emboldened bears’

Staff report

Bear activity at the popular Avalanche Campground near Carbondale has forced White River National Forest officials to close the area through at least Labor Day Weekend, they announced Friday.

The area has seen “several emboldened black bears frequenting the campground,” according to a Forest Service news release.

In the most recent incident, a black bear destroyed a tent in the campground, and there was not a bear attractant such as food in the tent, the USFS said. No one was hurt, but people were present in the campground, which is off Highway 133 south of Carbondale, when the incident occurred.

“Clearly this bear understands campsites potentially mean food and is no longer afraid of people,” Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Kevin Warner said in the news release. “We have reports of at least one other emboldened bear visiting the campground.”

The first-come, first-served campground will remain closed at least through the Labor Day weekend as the forest coordinates with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, officials said Friday.

The White River National Forest has a food-storage order in place for all its developed campgrounds and many dispersed camping areas to help prevent black bears and other wildlife from obtaining food from humans and becoming a nuisance or dangerous.

“The food storage order goes into specific detail, but the basic rules are to keep your food, garbage, coolers and other bear attractants in a hard-sided vehicle, the bear-resistant food lockers provided at many developed sites, or an approved bear-resistant food container unless you are actively preparing food or within 100 feet of it during daytime hours,” Warner said.