In recent weeks, bears have been making recurring appearances at several shelters in Harriman, including the popular Fingerboard Shelter. What’s the reason? Food! Bears are more likely to seek out human food sources in the spring, when natural food is scarce, and in the summer, particularly during periods of drought.
Due to several recent incidents where black bears approached campers in search of food, camping in the vicinity of the Fingerboard and Bald Rocks shelters in Harriman State Park has been temporarily suspended.
To reduce the risk of attracting black bears, campers should never leave food, coolers, or backpacks unattended, especially when sleeping. Food preparation and cooking should be undertaken away from where people sleep. When finished, all food should be secured and waste taken to proper receptacles. Bears have a very good sense of smell, so food and other items with a strong scent, like toothpaste and deodorant, should not be stored in tents. Should a bear approach you, make loud noises and slowly back away. Do not run. Never get between cubs and an adult bear. All bear encounters should be reported to the Park Police at (845) 786-2781. For more information on how to store you food and preventing bear conflicts see DEC's website on Reducing Human-Bear Conflicts.