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Arizona - Pioneer Pass Campground Closed After Bear Sightings

Globe, Arizona, May 19, 2016, —For Immediate Release. –Tonto National Forest officials issued a temporary closure at the Pioneer Pass Campground in the Pinal Mountains, because of repeated bear sightings. The area closure order is effective immediately. The purpose of this closure order is to protect visitors, employees and contractors while Arizona Game and Fish attempts to capture a bear that has become hanging around the area.

The closed area includes the Pioneer Pass Recreation Area and all associated parking areas, bathrooms and developed recreation sites. There is also a general area closure 200 yards perpendicular to each side of the roadway at National Forest System Road 112 near Forest Trail 196 and Forest Trail 214, in the Pinal Mountains on the Globe Ranger District.

For more information about wildlife on the Tonto National Forest, please contact the Arizona Game and Fish Mesa Office at 480-981-9400.

For further information about the area closure, see the forest website, http://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto or call the Globe Ranger District office at: 928-402-6200.

Here are some tips about coexisting with bears:

If you camp in bear country:

· Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Store food inside a bear-proof container (not in your camper or tent). If not, suspend food, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet out from the tree trunk.

· Clean the grill after cooking, and change out of the clothes you cooked in before going to sleep.

· Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.

· Store toiletries with your food.

· Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site.

· Remove bird feeders. Bears see them as sweet treats, and often they will look for other food sources nearby.

· Keep a clean camp. Deposit trash and food in bear proof dumpsters before retiring for the night.

· Pick up pet food and water, do not leave pet dishes outdoors at night.

By taking these few extra precautions, bears will go in search of food elsewhere.

If you encounter a bear:

· Do not make direct eye contact - that is an act of aggression to a bear.

· Stay calm, back away slowly - NEVER turn and run.

· Make noise, clap your hands, throw rocks, and raise your arms with a jacket or blanket to appear larger than the bear.

· NEVER approach a bear. Do not feed bears.

· If you are attacked, fight, kick, scream, and yell. Usually bears are very afraid of humans.


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