For centuries black bears (Ursus americanus) have made Lassen Volcanic National Park their home. Their movements are dictated by ancient connections to the seasons, food sources, and their own inclinations. Bears are curious, intelligent, and potentially dangerous animals.
Lassen is home to about 30 black bears. Despite what their name implies, black bear fur can vary from blonde to black in color. These adaptable animals live in the park year-round, however they enter torpor―a short-term form of hibernation―in the snowy winter months. Grizzly/brown bears (Ursus arctos) are not found in the park.
Be Bear Aware
Your actions protect yourself and protect park wildlife. The following actions can help maintain black bears' natural wariness of humans and prevent negative human-bear encounters.
Bears and Food Storage: A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear
Odors attract bears to picnic areas, campgrounds, and backcountry campsites. Allowing a bear to obtain human food―even once―
If You Encounter a Bear
Bears are territorial. If you surprise a bear at close range (less than 300 feet), you may be intruding into it space. Most bear encounters end without injury, especially if you follow some basic guidelines and remember that your safety depends on your ability to calm the bear:
If a Bear Approaches or Charges You
Do not run! Most bear attacks result from surprise encounters when the bear is defending their young or a food source, such as a carcass.
Last updated: July 17, 2020