ARE BLACK BEARS A NUISANCE IN PARKS AND CAMPGROUNDS?
Black bears have been perceived as nuisances in some National Parks at least since the 1890s. Throughout North America, human-associated foods continue to attract black bears to parks and campgrounds. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there were 107 personal injuries and 715 incidents of property damage between 1964-1976. In Yellowstone, property damage incidents averaged 262 between 1960-67 but averaged 5 between 1983-1993 after implementation of a bear management plan. Nuisance complaints at New York state campgrounds averaged 37 between 1975-79 but < 27 annually after 1980. Deliberate and inadvertent feeding by humans may lead to conflicts and property damage, as well as alterations in bear behavior, foraging habits, reproductive rate, physical size, distribution, and numbers. The intense recreational activities in many parks and campgrounds threatens bears due to those human activities which promote habituation and a conditioned response to human foods, potentially leading to