Old Baldy and Super trails closed due to bear sightings - Tucson News Now

Old Baldy and Super trails closed due to bear sightings

Bear spotted in Madera Canyon by hikers. (Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department) Bear spotted in Madera Canyon by hikers. (Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department)
PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Old Baldy and Super trails in the Santa Rita Mountains are temporarily closed due to multiple sightings of a bear, the Coronado National Forest announced early Saturday.

The trails are closed from their trailheads up to Josephine Saddle, according to a media release.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has received multiple reports in the past week of a bear sighting in Madera Canyon, about 25 miles southeast of Tucson.

[READ MORE: Nuisance bear reported in Madera Canyon]

In one three close encounters, officials say a hiker was able to flee but left her backpack behind.

The bear ate the food inside and the hiker later recovered her backpack.

The animal is described as dark brown or black and weighing approximately 200 pounds.

The wildlife agency advises anyone who runs into a bear to stay calm and slowly back away.

Hikers should not run or play dead.

The Saturday media release from the Coronado National Forest added that black bears usually avoid people but are attracted to human food and trash. 

The Forest Service offered the following suggestions for campers to be "bear aware:"

  • Maintain a clean camp or picnic site.
  • Keep food items in airtight containers, and discard fruit and scraps properly.
  • Stow food, pet food, trash and picnic coolers out of sight and out of smell-range of bears.
  • Make use of bear-proof food and trash receptacles where provided.
  • Wash and stow cooking utensils immediately following use.
  • Do not take odorous items (toothpaste, lotions, etc.) or clothing used while cooking into tents.
  • Keep pets leashed.
  • Avoid contact with bears and other wildlife.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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