Potential bear danger prompts campground closure near McCarthy

Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The National Park Service is closing a small campground near the end of the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, citing the danger from bears.

The campground, at the end of a spur road leading away from Mile 59 of the McCarthy Road, will be closed to overnight camping between April 15 and Oct. 15, Park Superintendent Gary Candelaria said. Day use of the area remains open.

Both brown bears and black bears were spotted frequently in the camping area last summer and acted aggressively toward campers while taking unprotected food, the agency said.

Researchers working in the park last year confirmed the campground was located in a bear travel corridor and was adjacent to a large soapberry patch, making bear-human encounters unavoidable.

In addition, many bears in the McCarthy area are accustomed to people and associate people with food, the Park Service said.

Private campgrounds are available in the area, the agency said.

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