With Bears Driven Away From Campsites, Sand Island Reopens


The Apostle Islands’ Sand Island is bearable again for day campers.

The island was closed more than three weeks ago because bears were sticking their noses and paws into places for goodies that belonged to campers. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Protection Chief Chris Smith says they used some pops and bangs to drive bears away from people places: “Air horns, throwing things at the bears, rubber bullets, rubber buckshot, beanbag rounds. Things like that, noise makers to try and scare ’em away.”

Another reason they’re able to re-open Sand Island is that mother nature’s menu has improved. He says a “bumper crop” of blueberries will be ripe shortly, “and there’s lots of stuff for the bears to eat in those logs – grubs and bugs and stuff that they should be eating anyway.”

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While the island re-opened to day campers, it won’t be open to night camping until next Sunday. One way they’re able to know that the 10 or so bears on the island are back in their own territory is a trail cam.

“We didn’t get very many pics,” says Smith. “It’s like when the people stopped showing up, the bears stopped showing up.”

One picture has a bear looking up at a sign that reads “Bear Alert.”

Rangers at the Apostle Islands people insist it isn’t photoshopped.

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