Bears force Aspen campsites to close

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ASPEN, Colo. The U.S. Forest Service has closed 11 backcountry campsites near Aspen after bears tried - and often succeeded - in getting to unattended food.

Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Karen Schroyer tells The Aspen Times at least six such encounters occurred last weekend. In some cases, bears shredded tents to get at food improperly stored inside. They also have figured out how to sever the lines used to suspend food caches in trees.

No injuries were reported.

Schroyer says rangers closed the Crater Lake campsites near Maroon Bells last Sunday and carried out about 13 pounds of food and litter from the area. The campsites will remain closed while wildlife officials monitor bear activity.

No restrictions have been placed on day uses such as hiking and picnicking around Crater Lake.

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