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Park officials remind folks of camping safety regarding local wildlife

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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BREAKS, Va. (WYMT) - As summer rolls around, state and national parks see more campers come and pitch a tent, but officials are reminding folks about bear-proofing your campground and how to be safe around all local fauna.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase in bear-related incidents,” said Breaks Interstate Park Superintendent Austin Bradley, “involving coolers being stolen, bears getting into people’s vehicles where food is left unsecured.”

Many parks have installed bear-proof trash cans, but this is sometimes not enough to deter bears from wandering onto campsites.

“One of the most important things that people can do to avoid any kind of bear-human conflict is just to reduce the presence of food and also strong smells around their houses and around their campsites,” said Bradley.

Bradley added that cooking smells and even pet food can draw bears to an area, but all local wildlife should not be fed to avoid them becoming dependent on the extra food.

“The animals lose the ability to feed on their natural food sources out in the forest and they become reliant on people,” said Bradley.

Bradley also added that even though some animals may approach and seem friendly become they have become accustomed to being around people, remember that they are still wild animals, feeding the animals is illegal, and remember to appreciate nature from a safe distance.

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