Two more Aspen campgrounds closed to tents after bear incidents |

Two more Aspen campgrounds closed to tents after bear incidents

A sign warns campers at Weller Campground of bear hazards, and the need to only camp in hard sided vehicles and campers.
Aspen Times file photo |

Two weeks after closing Weller Campground east of Aspen because of a bear roaming the area, the U.S. Forest Service has closed two more campgrounds to tent camping after new incidents with bears Sunday and Monday.

The 21 Lincoln Creek dispersed sites and the seven-site Lincoln Creek Campground are open for hard-sided camping vehicles only, according to Martha Moran, recreation staff supervisor for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. Rangers were in the process of telling tent campers Thursday night that they must leave, she said.

The closure to tents is unfortunate, Moran said, because this is one of the busiest weekends of the summer. However, the closure was necessary after poor food storage resulted in “food rewards” for bruins, she said. A woman reported that she was camping at dispersed site No. 2 at Lincoln Creek on Monday when a bear broke into her vehicle, ate some food and “made a mess of the car,” according to Moran.

The woman reported she rolled the windows up and the bear broke the window.

On Sunday, a sow and her cubs were exploring around a tent at Lincoln Creek Campground and were chased away by campers who threw rocks at them. The bears were able to get some Pop-Tarts in circumstances that aren’t entirely clear. Moran said there are bear-proof food-storage boxes at the sites in the small campground.

“We’ve had three incidents in the last couple of days,” Moran said.

Weller, Lincoln Creek campgrounds and the Lincoln Creek dispersed sites form a triangle about halfway between Aspen and Independence Pass. The Lincoln Creek dispersed sites are popular because they are first-come, first-served. Campers there were being told they could go to Portal Campground and dispersed sites beyond Grizzly Reservoir.

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