Blue Ridge

A group of youth kayakers stand on the shore of Blue Ridge Reservoir in 2012. (Eric Betz/Arizona Daily Sun)

The Coconino National Forest is shuttering the Rock Crossing campground near Blue Ridge Reservoir after a bear entered it last night and attacked a camp trailer.

Rock Crossing is a highly popular and well-developed campground that sits above the lake before Forest Road 751 descends to the boat ramp.

The campground hosts said they were in their trailer last night when the bear scraped up the side and went after the hose inlet area. They were eventually able to scare the animal off.

Arizona Game and Fish officers are now setting traps to capture the bear. It’s the first time there’s been a bear problem at Rock Crossing. But it’s not the first time that bears have caused problems in that region. In 2012, the Tonto National Forest was forced to close several campgrounds because of bear attacks near Payson.

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That history of attacks is what made the U.S. Forest Service especially concerned. Officials said that the popularity of the area made it a difficult decision to close or keep open.

“In light of the bear sightings and what has happened over the past couple of years, we feel it’s necessary to close this campground in order to ensure the safety of the public,” Mogollon Rim District Ranger Linda Wadleigh said in a press release. “Rock Crossing campground will be closed until we feel it’s safe for campers to once again use the campground.”

According to the Forest Service, bears are common at high elevation. The animals are likely to return if they continue to find food in an area. Problem bears are relocated, or possibly destroyed if it is “considered too dangerous, have completely lost their fear of humans, or continue to get into conflicts with people.”

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