By Greg Berman
When I think of bear country, my mind is directed to places like Barrow, Alaska; Yellowstone, Wyoming; Glacier, Montana and even our very own Rocky Mountain National Park, where seeing a roaming black bear is not out of the question. To lump Seward St., Stickney St., Upper 5th Avenue, 5th Avenue, 4th Avenue, and McCall Alley with these
mighty bear haunts just doesn’t seem to fit. Sure enough, though, we have our very own bruin (or two or three) roaming the Lyons north side neighborhoods looking to fill a belly from trashcans filled with whatever smells delightfully appetizing.
During the month of September, our trashcans on Upper 5th Avenue have been visited three times, with the naughty bear having left quite the mess after his overnight snacks. It wasn’t until Saturday, September 24, that my wife and I got a glimpse of the neighborhood food thief. I on was Seward St., headed towards upper 5th Avenue, on the tail end of a four-mile walk, when I spotted something dark and large looming in the shadows. I decided to put a little haste into finishing my walk. Once home, Anne and I drove down Seward, and there HE was. It looked like something that had just stepped out of National Geographic or Animal Planet. This bear was enormous. As we sat in the car, only a few feet away, he stood on his hind legs and stretched out as far as he could up against a tree, clawing and scratching the bark. He was no less than 7 to 8 feet tall. He must have weighed minimally 500 pounds. He seemed not to care a lick about us watching him. Once down on all fours, he slowly strolled down Seward towards 5th Avenue, and disappeared into the darkness.
There have been other bear sightings on Ewald, and along Highway 7 as you drive towards Hall Ranch. I saw a smaller black bear on the sidewalk trail just south of Highway 7. With all of the bear sightings in town, folks need to secure their trashcans and their pets during the nighttime hours. Bears are fattening up for winter hibernation, and anything that smells good will more than likely become a target for these mighty creatures.
Bears have an amazing memory, and it has been verified that if they find an area with treats that satisfy their bellies, they will return year after year. Based on this truth, we will more than likely see our friend again, if not this year, then next year and the year after. Take whatever precautions you can to secure your area. If not, then you too may have something very large roaming the dark shadows of your backyard.