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Popular recreation area closed after bear encounters

Officials with the Boise National Forest say bears have been spotted in campgrounds near Bull Trout Lake over the past couple weeks.

American black bear

BOISE - A popular recreation area in the Boise National Forest encompassing Bull Trout Lake has been closed to the public after reports of people encountering bears in the area.

Forest officials say bears have been spotted in campgrounds near the lake over the past couple weeks.

Thanks to their keen sense of smell, bears can find food from great distances. Once food is found near humans, the bear is likely to return, which often creates a dangerous situation, officials warned.

RELATED: Wildlife managers euthanize bear that bothered Idaho campers

The closure includes Bull Trout Campground and surrounding areas along NFS road 520. Bull Trout Lake is a popular fishing and camping destination located just off of Idaho 21 north of Grandjean.

The Boise National Forest is reminding visitors to be extra vigilant this summer when storing and disposing of their food and toiletry products to avoid attracting bears.

For more information and tips for avoiding a dangerous encounter with a bear, check out this website.

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