Posted: Aug 14, 2012 2:29 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center
Updated: Aug 14, 2012 2:19 PM
MISSOULA- State wildlife officials are being forced to shutdown the Russell Gates campground along Montana Highway 200, near Clearwater Junction because of a problem with a black bear.
The campground at Russell Gates fishing access site along the Blackfoot River is closed after Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say the black bear was reported to be getting into campers' food at the site about a week ago.
FWP increased onsite communication with campers and recreationists at the popular fishing site to encourage bear awareness and the secure storage of food and attractants, according to a news release.
But FWP says despite the efforts, the bear has continued to frequent the campground for food, leading to the decision to close the campground while the bear is removed.
"We were hoping that our efforts of encouraging the public to keep clean campsites and store food where the bear couldn't get at it would motivate the bear to move through the area. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and we decided closing the site and removing the bear was the best approach to ensure public safety." said Fishing Access Site Coordinator Chet Crowser.
The site will remain open for boat launching and day use, but is closed to camping until the bear is captured and removed. There have been no human injuries or attacks on humans according to FWP.