GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Effective immediately, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has restricted the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park - Island Acres Section to hard-sided camping only due to concerns about a bear that has been pushing up against occupied tents and camping vehicles while searching for food.
Campers that are planning to stay at Island Acres must sleep in a recreational vehicle, automobile or other hard-sided camper or they must find a different campground. CPW officials say that anyone that has a current reservation at Island Acres may instead camp at the Fruita Section of the state park.
"We are doing this out of an abundance of caution," said Park Manager Pete Firmin. "This bear has become increasingly aggressive in its search for food and until it is caught we will continue the restrictions."
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say that the first reports of the bear came in late June. Since then, the bear has become increasingly active. Campers that have encountered the bear say that they were able to scare it away after it pushed on their tent, however it quickly returned.
"That indicates that it is becoming more comfortable around humans," said Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke. "When a bear loses its natural fear of people, it becomes a concern for human health and safety and we will take the appropriate action to protect the public."
Firmin adds that if the bear continues to elude the two traps that are now in place through the coming weekend, it may result in the full closure of the campground.
"If this bear is not trapped quickly in the next few days, we believe that the safest thing to do will be to close the campground entirely until it is caught." said Firmin. "That will allow us to track, trap and remove the bear under safe conditions."
For more information about the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, go to www.bit.ly/jamesmrobbpark, or call Island Acres at 970-464-0548, or the Fruita Section at 970-858-9188.
For more information about living and camping with bears, visit www.cpw.state.co.us/bears.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. To learn more, please visit cpw.state.co.us.