As fall approaches, bear sightings are on the rise in Snoqualmie Valley. The city of North Bend urges residents to take several steps to stay safe.
The best way to reduce bear activity and potentially harmful human-bear interactions is to eliminate attractants, the things that draw bears to an area. Garbage is the number one attractant. Garbage containers should have tight-fitting lids and be kept in a shed, garage, or fenced area. Place garbage containers out for collection shortly before the truck arrives, not the night before.
Three other main attractants are pet food, barbeque grills and bird feeders. Keep pet food and barbeque grills in a secure building or structure. Be sure to feed pets in a bear-proof location. Put grills back in storage after each use. Remove bird feeders between November and February.
If you do encounter a bear:
• Stay calm and avoid direct eye contact, which could cause the bear to charge. Try to stay upwind and identify yourself as a human by standing up, talking and waving your hands above your head.
• Do not approach the bear, particularly if cubs are present.
• If you cannot safely move away from the bear, and it doesn’t leave, try to scare it away by clapping your hands or yelling.
• If the bear attacks, fight back aggressively. As a last resort, protect yourself by curling into a ball or lying on the ground on your stomach and playing dead.
The Snoqualmie-North Bend Police Department requests that the public call 911 for each bear sighting; 911 will dispatch them to the location. The Snoqualmie-North Bend police want to track bear activity and work closely with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Office on the issue of bear activity in our community.
Safety information for living with black bears is posted on the WDFW website at www.wdfw.wa.gov in the Living with Wildlife pages.