Lower Bidwell Park is home to an array of wildlife, but what you're more likely to see is people, biking, jogging and taking a stroll through the park but several park goers got an early morning glimpse Monday at an animal not commonly seen...a bear. " It was definitely a surreal experience to see it in a location only a mile from my home", said Chico resident Lindsey Glass.
Park rangers warn that bears do occasionally make their way from upper to lower Bidwell Park, for the most part the shy creature will run the opposite direction if confronted by people. But safety and caution should always be a priority. " If there is a bear in lower Bidwell Park, don't wear headphones that day, and have your dog on a leash so it doesn't startle the animal and put it in a situation where it's gonna fight back", explained senior park ranger Jessica Erdahl.
Walking with a stick or a friend is also a good idea. Avoid unused trails and make as much noise as possible when in heavily wooded areas. Experts say bears are usually more afraid of you than you are of them. " Typically what you're going to see if you do see a bear is it is going to be running from you", said Erdahl.
The bear was spotted several times in lower park, once near Cedar
grove as well as Vallombrosa. When bears do rarely visit the area, they're most commonly in search of food. " We have a lot of garbage, a lot of fruit trees, interesting things for them to eat so they might follow the creek down", explained Erdahl.
Park rangers say the last time the bear was spotted it was seen running towards upper park.Fish And Game have also been notified, but they're hoping the bear will make it's way home on it's own. " I suspect it's probably in lower park somewhere hiding and we're hoping it will move eastern up into upper park".