An acquired taste of human food by a black bear has forced the overnight closure of Sand Island at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin.
Park officials say a black bear that was able to obtain human food has been frequenting campsites and has damaged property. As a result, while the island will remain open or day trippers, it will be closed to camping for the immediate future.
“We don’t enjoy closing places to our visitors,” said Apostle Islands Superintendent Bob Krumenaker, “especially on a busy holiday weekend. However, for the safety of our visitors and the bear, we need to train the bear to be afraid of humans.”
Park staff will monitor the bear and attempt to deter it from staying in areas frequented by people. The closure will be re-evaluated at least weekly. As soon as it appears the bear will stay away from visitor use areas, the island will be reopened.
In years gone by the NPS trapped problem bears and moved them to the mainland. That practice was rejected because it either failed (bears often returned to the island) or because it simply made a problem bear someone else’s problem.