NCAR and the three bears

Foothills Lab area gets rare visit by ursines on the move

May 6, 2013 | A mother bear and two cubs provided a Monday thrill to passers-by along Boulder and White Rock Ditch, which runs just south of the main entrance to FL 1/2/3 on the Foothills Lab campus.

Staff members watch bears in tree
Along the bike path just south of Anderson Ditch, staff members watch the mother bear (left) and her two cubs (faintly visible above and to the right). Just outside the photo to the left, rangers made sure that staff were keeping a safe distance. (©UCAR. Photo by Bob Henson.)

With rangers stationed nearby, the three bears perched for much of the day in one of the large ditchside cottonwood trees (see photos), long enough for the Daily Camera to put together a video montage of their appearance.

Foxes, deer, rabbits, and owls are common sights on or near the grounds of the Foothills campus, with an occasional coyote in the mix. Bears are another matter. This appears to have been the first prolonged sighting of multiple bears during work hours since the FL campus opened in the early 1990s.

As ML occupants know well, and Safety and Site Services director Steve Sadler reminds us, bears can be unpredictable.

Mother bear in tree near Foothills Lab
The mother bear at watchful rest. (©UCAR. Photo by Alison Rockwell, EOL.)

"Regardless of whether you see bears on the mesa or on this end of town, we all need to know how to behave around them,” Steve notes.

If you happen to spot a bear near any of our facilities, please notify Security, ext. 1139.

Bear cub near NCAR Foothills Lab
One of the two cubs takes a tentative step. (©UCAR. Photo by Bob Henson.)

With the long-awaited arrival of spring now urging bears out of hibernation, Steve encourages all staff to review the safety guidelines provided by Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. The city website also includes a helpful bear-oriented FAQ produced by the Colorado Department of Wildlife.