Many people assume that black bears dwell only in forests or mountains, but numerous sightings over the past few years confirm that black bears inhabitat much of Dinosaur National Monument. Black bears (Ursus americanus) are curious, highly mobile, and adaptable animals, but they're not always black. The fur of a black bear can range from very light to very dark. The adaptability of black bears can lead to conflicts with people as bears can easily learn to associate people with food sources. Keep both yourself, other visitors and the bears safe by abiding by the following guidelines and tips while visiting the park:
Food & Food Storage
- Never feed wildlife! Bears can become very dangerous when they associate people with food.
- Keep a clean camp and store food properly. In most parts of the monument, the best option is to store your food in the trunk of a vehicle. On the river, you should store your food in your metal dry box. Speak with a park ranger regarding the most up-to-date storage options available.
- Do not leave food or garbage in the open and/or unattended. Place garbage in designated trash bins or in the trunk of your vehicle if it is a pack it in, pack it out campground like Gates of Lodore, Echo Park, Deerlodge Park and Rainbow Park. For those with vehicles without a trunk, two storage lockers have been installed at Gats of Lodore Campground. Lockers will be installed at other sites as funding permits.
- Food preparation and clean up should be done well away from your sleeping quarters and food storage area.
- Do not bring food into or near your sleeping quarters.Clean all pots, pans, and grills thoroughly with unscented biodegradable soap and water to ensure no trace of food aromas. Gray / dish water should be disposed of in a large river or scattered.
Preventing an Encounter
- Do not approach or startle bears. If you see one while you are in your vehicle, remain in the vehicle.
- While participating in outdoor activities throughout the park, make noise, yell and ensure your presence is known in the wilderness.
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Frequently look ahead, off to the sides, and behind you. See the bear before you surprise it!
- Do not turn your back or run from a bear, walk away slowly and avoid eye contact.
Please report any bear sightings, encounters or incidents to park staff immediately. Call (970) 374-3000.