Bears cause campground closure

Environment Yukon has closed Congdon Creek campground because of the risk of grizzly bears. At least four bears have been seen feeding in and around the park near Kluane Lake.

Environment Yukon has closed Congdon Creek campground because of the risk of grizzly bears.

At least four bears have been seen feeding in and around the park near Kluane Lake.

“The bears appear to be in poor condition according to the conservation officer who was checking things out,” said Nancy Campbell, spokesperson for Environment Yukon.

One bear charged at a camper who tried to snap a photo.

“I would suggest that it’s not a good idea to take a picture of a grizzly bear at the best of times,” said Campbell. “But a bluff charge does indicate that they’re not in a peaceable mood, so for the safety of the bears and the camping public we’ve just closed the campground right now.”

Even when it is open, tents are strongly discouraged in the Congdon Creek campground because of the risk of bears.

And this time of year they’re particularly hungry.

“It’s usually a problem in July when there is that food gap between all the nice roots and the overwinter berries and waiting for all the other stuff to come in,” said Campbell.

The area around the campground is rich in soapberries, a staple for both black and grizzly bears.

But it’s not just the soap berries that are attracting bears.

“A conservation officer personally witnessed a grizzly on the highway near the drive into the campground dragging a bag of garbage away,” said Campbell. “Since our garbage bags are in the bear-proof garbage containers, it’s hard to tell what’s going on there, but it sounds like someone didn’t have their garbage managed very well.”

There is no word on when the campground will be open again.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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