Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Bearly There
According to this LA County Sheriff Dept. website, “Black Bears were introduced into the San Gabriel Mountains in 1933. They are all descendants of 11 bears deported from Yosemite National Park for being troublemakers.”
Can’t you just picture the scene? Dramatic music swells in the background, as Ranger Smith plants his feet on the ground, narrows his eyelids and announces, “Yogi, you and the rest of your picnic-basket-thieving gangsta’ bears have got ‘till sundown to get out of town.”
Now...fast forward 80 years...
According to estimates made in 2010 by the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, there are between 25,000 and 30,000 Black bears in California. Of those, “probably less than 10 percent...inhabit the Central Western/Southwestern California bioregion”, including the Santa Susana and San Gabriel Mountains at the southern edge of our Santa Clarita Valley.
3,000 bears doesn’t seem like a lot...unless one of those bears wanders into your neighborhood. This is exactly what happened on Monday morning, when a Black bear (Ursus americanus californiensis) was spotted by residents of a Canyon Country neighborhood. (Click here to see more details on the KHTS website.)
No longer a cartoon character, this male bear was between 3 - 4 years old and weighed about 110 pounds. Fortunately, the Fish and Wildlife wardens, with the help of LA County deputies, were able to tranquilize the bear and remove him to another location inside the Angeles National Forest.
So why did this bear wander down out of the mountains and into the neighborhood? One possible reason - he was looking for food. Here’s what the California DFW website has to say about the eating habits of black bears:
1) “As omnivores, black bears and will eat whatever seems edible. Mostly they are plant eaters...”.
2) “Bears commonly consume ants and other insects in summer, but prefer nut crops, especially acorns, and manzanita berries in the fall.”
3) “...Bears are attracted to human garbage, pet food and other food items. In suburban areas and mountain communities, bears may damage private property while foraging. These events are most likely to occur in spring if natural foods are scarce, or in late summer and fall, especially during years of poor berry and acorn yields.”
So if you’d like some ideas about how NOT to attract bears, here are a few suggestions from the California DFW:
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Trail Maintenance Schedule. Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails. Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org for time and place.
Wednesday mornings, May 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29.
Saturday mornings, May 4 & 18.
Placerita Canyon Nature Center Open House. Saturday, May 11, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. For more information go to: Placerita.org
Migration Morning Birds, Saturday, May 18th, 8:00 - 10:00 AM.
As the days grow longer, migrating birds become more active, changing locations. Learn about some of the birds that live and pass through our local mountains. Beginners are welcome. Binoculars optional. Meet at Towsley Canyon’s front parking lot. For more information go to: LAMountains.com
New trail maps available. If you’d like to explore a bit on your own, the City of Santa Clarita has a website with trail maps of our local open spaces.
There’s also a new website for bicycle riders.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The SCV Outdoor Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
Or check out our Facebook page - L.A. Mountains.