Bears have been spotted in New Hartford, Herkimer, and all over campsites in Old Forge. The National Park Service has some helpful (hilarious) advice in case of a bear encounter - and it might make you feel better if you're the less athletic friend.

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The National Park Service has some great advice in case of a bear encounter.

"READ: Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself.⁣⁣
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As a follow-up to a previous post, if you come upon a stationary bear, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Like dogs, they will chase fleeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees.⁣⁣ Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course).
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Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all? ⁣⁣Identify yourself by making noise so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Help the bear recognize you as a human. We recommend using your voice. (Waving and showing off your opposable thumb means nothing to the bear) The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.⁣⁣

P.S. We apologize to any “friends” who were brought on a hike as the “bait” or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed. ⁣⁣

I've got to be honest, when I was out hiking recently, and there were warnings about bear sightings - I felt slightly comforted by hiking near people who seemed like they might run more slowly than I would. Just saying.

In addition to the above advice, the DEC also has the following recommendations:

DO:
Most black bears prefer to avoid humans.

  • Use noise to scare bears away: Yell, clap, or bang pots (or other items) immediately upon sighting a bear near your home.
  • Stay calm: Walk slowly and speak in a loud and calm voice.
  • Leave slowly: Cautiously back away from the bear and leave the area.

DON'T:

  • Approach, surround, or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
  • Run from a bear: They may chase.
  • Feed a bear by throwing it food: This will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food. By teaching a bear to approach humans for food, you are endangering yourself, other residents, and the bears.