New Bear Encounters at Mt Si Cottages, Resident says Bear within Three Feet of Child

On the outer edge of Snoqualmie Ridge, near I-90 and a freshly cleared parcel of land at the corner of 96th and Snoqualmie Parkway, sits Mt. Si Cottages in the Aster Creek neighborhood.  Built in 2007, the cottages are small homes without garages and many without fences.

There is no place to store garbage containers except outside, in small backyards.  There is no requirement for these homes to use Waste Management’s ‘bear-resistant’ garbage containers.  There are no locking, large community garbage cans.

It seems the area is a hungry bear hot spot.

Last week this neighborhood had three bear sightings, including one while children were waiting for the morning school bus.  All of the sightings happened in the morning hours.

This week, more bear reports are trickling in. Mt Si Cottage homeowner, Megan Roberts, said Sunday afternoon, June 8, 2014, a bear came within three feet of a child riding a bike. Roberts said the parent quickly responded due to the child’s scream.

Then Monday, June 9th, around 3:30PM, when kids were getting off the school bus, a bear returned.  Roberts said this time about 10 families were outside and one resident reported the bear was practically at their backdoor.

Snoqualmie Police were called and an officer responded around 5PM who requested a Washington Fish and Wildlife Officer to the area.

Bear trap set in Heights neighborhood after family dog was killed by bear.

The City of Snoqualmie reports that if a bear becomes a particular nuisance, it can be trapped and moved to another area. Even when this does occur, though, it is not uncommon for the same bear to return to the same area.

Bears Have Cottage Home History

During the past few years, bears have also frequented another cottage home area of Snoqualmie Ridge in the Heights neighborhood. In 2012, a Heights cottage home resident shot and killed a bear that had entered his property. In January 2014, a family dog was killed by a bear he chased out of his Heights home’s backyard.

The City of Snoqualmie worked with the cottage neighborhood homeowner’s association to find a solution, but in the end using bear-resistant containers surfaced as the solution – and neighborhood education (for homes with garages) regarding when to place containers curbside so as not to continually attracts bears to the neighborhood.

For now Mt. Si Cottage residents are being advised to be alert for bears – and consider purchasing pepper spray. There is no word yet if a trap is in the near future for the cottage home community.

Bear Attacks Very Rare

A bear encounter can be very scary, but bear attacks are very rare in Washington State. Bears tend to avoid humans, but in the event there is an encounter, Fish and Wildlife have specific advice.

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Tips if in Close Contact with a Bear:

  • Stop, remain calm, and assess the situation. If the bear seems unaware of you, move away quietly when it’s not looking in your direction. Continue to observe the animal as you retreat, watching for changes in its behavior.
  • If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking to the bear in a low voice.
  • Don’t throw anything at the bear and avoid direct eye contact, which the bear could interpret as a threat or a challenge.
  • If you cannot safely move away from the bear or the bear continues toward you, scare it away by clapping your hands, stomping your feet, yelling, and staring the animal in the eyes. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to shoulder and raise and wave your arms to appear intimidating. The more it persists the more aggressive your response should be. If you have pepper spray, use it.
  • Don’t run from the bear unless safety is very near and you are absolutely certain you can reach it (knowing that bears can run 35 mph). Climbing a tree is generally not recommended as an escape from an aggressive black bear, as black bears are adept climbers and may follow you up a tree.

For more tips and advice on living in areas where bear activity is high, visit Living with Black Bears.

Black bear spotted on Hancock Ave of Mt Si Cottages on June 2, 2014.

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