The U.S. Forest Service is reminding those who visit any national forests to avoid contact with wildlife if possible. If a bear is seen in the distance, hikers should change their route; if approached by a bear, hikers should discourage contact with the animal by looking as large and imposing as possible. This can be done by waving their arms or a jacket, making loud noises, and giving the bear the chance to leave the area.
If the animal does not leave after these attempts, you should remain calm, face the animal, and then slowly back away. Running is not recommended, according to the U.S. Forest Service, neither is playing dead around a bear.
Bear sightings should be reported immediately to Arizona Game and Fish Department at 623-236-7201, 24-hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
Black bears usually avoid people, but are attracted to human food and trash. Campers are encouraged to be “bear aware” by doing to following:
Maintain a clean camp or picnic site.
Keep food items in airtight containers, and discard of fruit and scraps properly.
Stow food, pet food, trash and picnic coolers out of sight and out of smell-range of bears.
Utilize 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.