This is a message from Jennifer Burns of the US Forestry Service sent May 3:
Please avoid Boynton Canyon beyond Enchantment Resort for the next week. Having fewer visitors in the upper canyon is intended to relieve the stress on a wild bear that has been observed in Boynton Canyon.
Background: Forest Service and Game and Fish have been monitoring a wild bear in Boynton Canyon for the past 6 weeks, since a report about two local residents feeding a bear in the canyon. Investigations confirmed that a bear has been naturally browsing in Boynton and Long Canyon for the spring and that one, maybe two, local men have put out food for the bear in Boynton Canyon. As a result, this bear now associates people with food and is coming closer to visitors who hike the canyon.
Bears are well known to have keen memories and also a very high need for calories. As food supplies dwindle and the drought lingers, the bear is becoming more bold, resulting in several close encounters this past week. If this behavior continues there is a high likelihood that the bear will be euthanized. This is where the slogan “A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear” comes from. It is a very sad situation and we hope that by minimizing the stress on this bear, reducing encounters and giving it time to go higher in the forest, we can avoid this kind of decision by our Game and Fish Department.