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Hiking Season, Bear Awareness, & Moose on the Loose!

July 9, 2015

Now that it’s officially summer here in Colorado, you’ve hopefully been able to get outdoors despite this strange weather we’ve been having.  There’s plenty of opportunities to get out on the trail in the Front Range, with hundreds of awesome hikes ranging from strenuous thigh-burners to easy strolls that are perfect for a day with the family.  The American Hiking Society has some great tips for planning your next adventure, so get out and enjoy the summer!

Tips for your next hike:

  1. Let people know where you’ll be hiking and when you expect to be back.
  2. Study your maps before you begin the trip.
  3. Graph your route. Highlight the route you will be taking. Mark potential campsites, water stops, and major road intersections.
  4. Check the weather and pack according, keeping in mind that the weather at the base of a mountain and halfway up a mountain can be vastly different.

Once you’re out there in the wild, an important concern that should always be on your mind is the presence of bears in the area you find yourself in.  Bear territory is fairly prevalent along the Front Range, and you should always be on alert for signs warning of bear habitat.  Now, bear attacks are extremely sparse and uncommon, but there are several precautions you can take in order to be more “bear aware” and reduce your risk in the wilderness:

  1. Never keep food or scented items in your tent or car…  Store them properly or hang a “bear bag” if camping in a very remote area.  Also, dispose of garbage and food properly in bear proof trash cans.
  2. Don’t surprise bears…  If you are hiking along a trail, whistle, sing, or hang a bell on your bag in order to make your presence known.  Groups typically make more noise and are safer in bear country.
  3. If you run into a bear…  Stay calm and avoid any sudden movements.  Give the bear space to ensure that it doesn’t feel threatened, and talk loudly to let it know you are human.  A bear that stands up does not necessarily mean that it is feeling aggressive or angry, it may simply be getting a better view of you.
  4. If the bear attacks…  For grizzly bears, play dead and remain in the safe position: in a ball with your hands covering the back of your neck. Stay silent and do not move.  For black bears, be loud, waive your arms, and fight back.  Only play dead if you are certain the black bear is a mother protecting her cubs.
  5. Lastly, never feed or throw food to a bear… Bears that become more comfortable with human activity and food become huge nuisances to communities, and often have to be put down.  Protect the bears and leave them alone!

IMG_1011 Moose in GoldenHave you seen the moose on the loose? 

There have been several sightings of moose around the greater Denver area over the past month! A young bull was spotted in western Arvada Saturday, June 22nd and was reported by 9NEWS. Apparenty he was wandering around 64th and Indiana earlier in the day. Another moose was seen and scared off in downtown Boulder on the 22nd, with police shooting harmless bean bag rounds at the young female in order to send her back to the foothills.  Susan spotted another moose on her way home from work right here in Golden last week! (See picture)  So look out while driving or out on the town because there’s “moose on the loose!”

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