The city is warning trail users—again—to avoid Rover’s Run because a remote camera captured images of a brown bear sow and her two-year-old triplets walking on the trail multiple times over the past week.
For about 30 years, people used Rover’s on a regular basis with no significant bear problems—just an occasional sighting. But since a bad summer two years ago, the municipality has treated Rover’s like a skid-row titty bar full of brawling biker gangs. Nevermind the fact that the bear responsible for a serious mauling was never seen or heard from again, and the most persistently troublesome bear was killed, bringing threatening bear encounters to a screeching halt before that notorious summer ended.
Between trail closures and frequent warnings, the city has terrified many runners and bike riders, thereby cutting human use of Rover’s Run during summer months to a small fraction of what it was prior to 2008. All along, critics of the city’s response have pointed out that if humans vacate the area, bears will feel free to move in, and become bolder about using the trail during daylight hours.
And now cameras are capturing daytime images of a virtual wagon train of brown bears cruising the trail as if they owned it. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Take another look at those three cubs in the picture. They’re two years old. For their entire lives, human use of Rover’s has been minimized. Now Mama’s teaching them they can cruise that area with impunity.
Think they’re going to go away?
Don’t bet on it.