Trail shut down as officers look for aggressive bear
A trail in Bear Creek Regional Park was shut down Wednesday as officers with Colorado's Parks and Wildlife searched for an aggressive bear.
Several people have reported encounters with the bear while using trails on the west side of the park Monday. The bear was later reportedly seen near the creek in the Bear Creek Dog Park.
Officers were told that the bear did not retreat after being yelled at and continued to approach within 10 feet of at least one jogger. Its aggressive behavior concerned officers.
Colorado's Parks and Wildlife asked Colorado Springs and El Paso County to shut down Stephanie's Trail while officers searched for the bear.
Colorado's Parks and Wildlife officers posted signs at Stephanie's Trail trailhead early Wednesday morning that read, "Trail closed. Aggressive bear in area."
Officers also set up a trap in Bear Creek Regional Park. Officers worked overnight and into the morning looking for traces of the bear along the trail. They didn't find anything.
Randy Hampton, spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, says it could be a sign the bear left the area.
Charles Corry lives close to Stephanie's Trail. He said Bear Creek Regional Park got its name for a reason.
"The bears are just a regular part (of our community). You talk to the neighbors, they all have bear stories," said Corry.
Corry sees four to eight bears on his property every summer. The bears wreak havoc on his birdfeeders and fences. Corry said he yells loudly and claps at the bears and they run away. He didn't think it was necessary to close the trail.
"I think it's ridiculous. I mean the bears are here all the time. The people are the problem, not the bears," said Corry.
Hampton said the bear in the area isn't the problem. Hampton said the bear threatens public safety because it didn't back off during close encounters with joggers.
If Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers find the bear, they'll assess its behavior. If they determine the bear lost its fear of people, it will be put down.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife thinks the trail won't be closed much longer. It did not give a specific time the trail will reopen.
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