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Lassen National Park campsites close due to foraging bears

July 20, 2020 GMT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California has temporarily banned overnight camping in some parts of its park after several interactions between campers and foraging bears.

The decision was made last week to close down back-country camping in the Twin, Rainbow, Swan and Snag Lake areas after multiple visitors reported that bears had come to their campsites and searched their backpacks for food. The areas will remain open to the public for hiking, but the park warns visitors to be careful, The Sacramento Bee reported.

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The National Park Service website said the policy will not only protect campers but “protect the bears by promoting the offending bear(s) to return to normal foraging behavior.”

There are roughly 30 black bears in the national park, which is located about 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Sacramento, California and 151 miles (243 kilometers) from Reno, Nevada.

Park officials advise visitors to store all food in a bear-resistant container and to never leave their belongings unattended. If a visitor comes across a bear, park officials advise him or her to walk away slowly while ensuring their possessions are in hand.