The Waterton Canyon near Denver, Colorado, is closed to the public following a rash of “bear selfies.” It was noted that bears are foraging the area for food but that hikers are getting too close to the animals in a bid to get the perfect photograph. The operational facility managing the canyon, Denver Water, says they were left with no choice but to close the canyon until bear activity subsides. It was noted that both hikers and wildlife were in danger from the selfie trend which placed tourists at times within 10 feet of wild bears.
The Daily Mail reports that the Waterton Canyon was closed to the public over concerns of hiker and wildlife safety. The safety issues stem from a large portion of “bear selfies” taken by visitors to the canyon. It was noted that some hikers were using selfie sticks to get within 10 feet of foraging bears in an attempt to get the perfect photograph. With thousands of visitors to the canyon, Denver Water decided it was best to shut down the trails until bear activity slowed in the area.
Denver Water, the operational facility that manages the Waterton Canyon claims that bear activity in the region is high as mama bears forage for food with their youngsters. Hikers wanting to get photographs with the majestic beasts were using selfie sticks to take photographs of themselves with their backs turned to the wild bears. Others were using the selfie sticks to get their cameras as close to the bear as possible. Therefore, Denver Water says they had to close the trails to keep both visitors and the wildlife safe from the increasing practice of trying to secure a “bear selfie.”
“But when mama bears are foraging the canyon with their cubs, while hundreds, if not thousands of visitors a day are looking for that perfect wildlife shot, that’s asking for trouble.”
Brandon Ransom, Denver Water’s manager of recreation, says the concerns were exasperated as they saw images of bears surfacing from an increasingly close range.
“We’ve actually seen people using selfie sticks to try and get as close to the bears as possible, sometimes within 10 feet of wild bears. The current situation is not conducive for the safety of our visitors or the well-being of the wildlife.”
Do you think more hiking trails should close during seasons with high bear activity to protect the wildlife from over intrusive hikers and their selfies?
[Image Credit: Wiki Commons/ Terry Spivey]