Park City police told of a bear ‘rummaging through’ a parking lot |

Park City police told of a bear ‘rummaging through’ a parking lot

Sighting was one in a series of wildlife cases, including deer and elk herds


The Park City Police Department late on Friday night received a report of a bear sighting south of Old Town, an uncommon sort of sighting and one that was logged amid the hubbub of the opening weekend of the Sundance Film Festival a little bit away.

The report was made at 11:54 p.m. from Marsac Avenue. The bear was reported to be “rummaging through the parking lot,” the police were told.

The Police Department said the sighting occurred in a parking lot in the area of the mine bench along Marsac Avenue between Old Town and Deer Valley. There is vast acreage of undeveloped land in that area, as well as some of the Deer Valley Resort slopes.

The bear had left by the time an officer arrived. Details about the animal were not available.

The police regularly receive reports of wildlife sightings, but calls regarding bears are rare. Someone last fall spotted a bear somewhere along Royal Street, which links lower Deer Valley and upper Deer Valley.

Black bears are the bears in the state, according to an organization involved in wildlife issues in the state called Wild Aware Utah.

The police recently received a series of other wildlife-related cases. They included:

• on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 6:54 p.m., a deer herd was seen in the area of the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Wyatt Earp Way. The police were told it appeared the animals were preparing to cross Kearns Boulevard.

• on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 5:19 p.m., an injured deer was seen in the area of Aerie Drive and Golden Way. The police were told the injury was to the animal’s front left foot. The deer was walking “but clearly hurt,” the police were told.

• on Friday, Jan. 20 at 7:51 a.m., the police received a report of what was described as a “big group” of elk attempting to cross S.R. 224. The department said the animals created a traffic hazard.

• on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 9:46 a.m., an elk herd was seen along S.R. 224 in the area of White Pine Canyon Road. Two of the animals were on the road, the police were told.

• on Jan. 18 at 8:24 a.m., between 20 and 30 elk were reported to be attempting to cross S.R. 224.

• on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 6:34 p.m., elk were seen attempting to cross either S.R. 224 or White Pine Canyon Road, close to the McPolin Farm.

Police officers when they respond to wildlife reports typically attempt to guard against dangers to the animals and people, such as alerting drivers to the presence of the animals. There are regular collisions between drivers and animals even with the efforts of law enforcement, transportation officials and wildlife advocates.

It seems likely wildlife sightings will continue with a deep snowpack in the mountains. Animals like deer and elk tend to move to lower elevations at times of heavy snowpack in search of foraging grounds. There was also a mountain lion sighting in Old Town in mid-January. The wildlife is more apt to encounter people and vehicles at the lower elevations.

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