Temporary leash restrictions issued after bear encounter in Boulder open space park

BOULDER, Colo. - The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department has instituted temporary leash restrictions near the National Center for Atmospheric Research after a visitor encountered a bear on the Mesa Trail Monday morning.

The temporary leash restrictions will apply to a section of the Mesa Trail between Bear Canyon and Skunk Canyon, along with the Mallory Cave Trail and the NCAR Access Trail. Currently, OSMP has seasonal leash restrictions in place along the Skunk Canyon trail and other locations.

OSMP will evaluate the temporary restrictions daily and will lift them when appropriate. The seasonal Skunk Canyon leash restriction will be lifted Nov. 1.

The temporary restrictions come after a visitor and her off-leash dog were walking along the Mesa Trail west of NCAR this morning, and a bear appeared on the trail and reportedly chased the dog. Park rangers responded to the report and found no signs of the bear.

The park institutes leash restrictions on certain trails every year because of the potential for these types of wildlife encounters. If you see a bear, remember these important tips from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

  • Stay calm.
  • Never run. Running can make a bear chase you.
  • Keep your distance. Back slowly away, facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact.
  • Slowly and calmly leave the area. Talk aloud so the bear will become aware of you.
  • Be extra careful around a female with cubs. Never approach a cub.
  • Never throw food to distract a bear. This teaches a bear to approach people for food.
  • Fight back if attacked. Black bears have been driven away when people fight with rocks, sticks, binoculars, or even bare hands.
  • Don’t litter. Please dispose of all litter in bear-proof trash cans when you are in bear habitat. Remove it from the area if trash cans are full. Your consideration could save a bear's life!
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