Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
|TRENTON – All access points to Ramapo Mountain State Forest will|
remain closed through at least the end of the week as a precaution
resulting from black bear activity in the area, most recently involving
five people followed closely by a bear in two
separate encounters over the weekend.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife on Monday captured and euthanized a bear that biologists believe was the bear involved in the encounters but, out of an abundance of caution, numerous traps will remain in place and will be monitored by Division of Fish and Wildlife personnel.
On Saturday, DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife State Conservation Officers and State Park Service were notified of two different bear-human encounters at Ramapo. Three female hikers reported being pursued by a bear. They came upon a male hiker and his dog. The four escaped unharmed.
The second encounter, which occurred later in the day, involved a bear following another male hiker on the park’s Yellow Trail. According to the hiker, the bear repeatedly approached and swatted at him. The hiker fought back with pepper spray. The bear continued to pursue the hiker, before relenting near a pedestrian bridge that crosses Route 287. The hiker was uninjured and no contact was made by the bear.
Two weeks earlier, on Saturday Sept. 19, a pair of hikers was closely followed by a potentially aggressive black bear at the forest, a 21-year-old woman and a 7-year-old boy. A third park visitor also came within close proximity of the same bear, which stopped about 15 feet from the man and his dog.
The bear paced for several minutes before backing away, according to the visitor.
Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers, Wildlife Control Officers and State Park Police canvassed the park all day Sunday, when the park was first closed. Traps were set at that time and a portion of the forest was closed to hiking. Division personnel have also been keeping area police apprised of developments.
In most cases, encounters between people and bears end without incident. However, black bears are wild animals and the Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds the public that it is very important for people who live in or visit New Jersey’s bear country to be alert to their presence, especially when hiking.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers the following tips when hiking in bear country:
For more information on black bear behavior, biology and tips, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm