Just received an email from the Olympic National Park reporting that the Enchanted Valley is currently closed to camping after reports of bear-human interactions. (This totally reminds me of this awesome video, but I digress…)
According to mentions on social media, hikers had found piles of leftover food at the chalet, and guess what, bears will eat that stuff and then want more bear-human interactions. And that’s not a cool thing.
So, people, don’t be stupid, ‘leave no trace behind’ and take your crap back with you when camping or hiking in the backcountry. It’s bad for the eco-system and bad for your health, because next time you’re hiking and a bear might want to maul you for your granola bar. (Which would be understandable, because granola bars are delicious, but you are not. The bear just doesn’t know that.)
So, punishment for all: 30 days no camping trips to the Enchanted Valley – then ONP will reassess and require bear canisters for overnight use of the valley. You see how this sucks?
In all seriousness, here is the press release below:
Enchanted Valley Closed to Camping After Reports of Bear-Human Interactions
Black bears have approached hikers in Enchanted Valley and have acquired and eaten human food, according to recent visitor reports.
“Bears that eat human food come to consider people as a food source, and are extremely dangerous,” said Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Sadly, bears have gotten into and consumed human food this spring in Enchanted Valley and we have closed the area to camping effective immediately.”
Several visitors have reported having seen at least one bear consuming human food and trash and others have described seeing bears that appear unafraid of people.
The Enchanted Valley area is closed to all camping between Pyrites Creek and the O’Neill Pass trail junction. The six-mile section of trail between these two locations remains open for hiking, but there is no camping above Pyrites Creek or below the O’Neill Pass trail junction.
Hikers walking this section of trail are reminded to stay at least 50 yards away from wildlife and to keep food, trash and all scented items properly stored and out of reach of wildlife at all times.
Enchanted Valley will remain closed to camping for the next 30 days. Rangers and wildlife biologists will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks.
“We will re-open Enchanted Valley to camping as soon as we are able to do so,” said Creachbaum. “When it re-opens, the use of bear cans will be required for all overnight use in the area.”
For seriousness questions or if you just want to ask me how I found that ‘Guy on a Buffalo’ video, reach out on Twitter: @einmaleins.