Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | December 8, 2013

A Bear in the State Park?

From: Murany, Jessica@Parks []

Please Help Us Save a Species

This may be premature to inform you about a local creature without photographic evidence, however I thought I would give the community a heads up………

We have received a half a dozen reports this year since summer of a bear.  This was to be expected after all of the fires up North that a bear would end up here in our forest.  All visitors who reported seeing a black bear swore that they knew what a bear looks like.  Yesterday’s report was of a light brown bear, a little on the small side, which may mean juvenile.  We do not have tracks or photographs to make these reports concrete, but are expecting some to come in.

One thing I would like to share is if this is true then we may have the only reported black bear in Southern California, South of San Jacinto.  This is exciting news to us to have this species reintroduced into our forest and even here in San Diego County.  People ask us all of the time why we do not have bear up here.

We do not know the reason why we lost this species, but suspect they were probably shot.  Years ago, I remember reading a newspaper article about the last black bear that was shot by a farmer in Ramona.  I’m sorry I do not remember the year but the story was that the bear had run out of food in Cuymaca post fire and was found inside of an enclosure of sheep and horses.  It was not hurting the farm animals but was after their food.

What did the farmer do?  Shot it.  It’s a shame to lose a species over some simple things you can do to prevent problems with black bear.

So help us keep this bear wild-

Black bears are very dexterous.  Start going around your property and bear proofing it.  We do not want this bear to become dependent on food from people, we want to keep it wild.  As soon as the black bear learns that it has easy access to food, such as from a trash can, it will become dependent on that food source.  It will go after the immediate availability of food.  Just one simple opportunity will create a problem for both species; us and the bear.

Here is some interesting information to share from the Fish and Wildlife website.

If we do in fact have a bear up here, we’ve already chosen a name: Cocoa.

Jessica Murany

State Park Ranger

Palomar Mtn. State Park

P.O. Box 175

Palomar Mtn., CA 92060

Office: 760.742.3462

Fax: 760.742.1092



  1. “So what did the farmer do? He shot it………..

    I am surprised at the obvious slant/negativity in this statement. It could have been better stated as something like “He was forced to make the choice and protect his livelihood and property.”

    As a representative of the state, who uses their job title in their signature line, I would expect you to take a more balanced approach. You should be aware of the vital role that hunting plays in the balance of species now, especially with the infringement of human population upon their habitat (including non-hunters as well).

    As someone who hunts Palomar often, I would love to see these beautiful creatures reintroduced to San Diego. I enjoy seeing all sorts of species while in the woods, whether I am specifically hunting them, or just enjoying nature.

    • Hi Mr. Vermonster- I am not opposed to hunting by no means. I love eating game. I’m not sure why you read into that statement so much. My whole purpose of my email was to be informative and to also help this species stay wild. There are other recourses that can be taken to scare off a bear that might not be threatening livestock, but is however after their feed. Bears really like corn and that is in many animal feed products. Bear proofing is key in keeping this species wild and there are many effective ways to handle it. One example- When I used to river raft on the Rouge River each year, each camping spot had an electric solar powered bear fence for food storage. The wild and scenic portion of the Rogue is the only place where I have seen bears in the wild and they were not a problem. BLM had a good handle on the wild bear population by educating the public, by bear proofing areas for food storage, and also having the public document any incidents.

      I am doing plenty of research regarding bear in San Diego County and working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. David Ross wrote and interesting article recently about the CA Grizzly in San Diego County in his new paper called the Valley Center Press. FYI.

      I have seen some good viable photographs of bear track. Still no actual photographs of an actual bear.

      If anybody sees a good bear track, please cover it with a bucket and I’ll get DFW to come out and confirm it. I am interested in seeing a collar get placed on the bear too to study its range and also to give DFW and idea of when it is encroaching on residential areas.

      If anyone needs more information please contact me. I’d be happy to chat or get answers.

  2. There haven’t been any reports of bear on the mountain for 12 years. Bears have crossed the 10 freeway and have made it to San Jacinto Mountain. Another area where the bear population disappeared. It is possible that this bear came from the North.

  3. A few years ago calif fish and game trapped some bears in the San Gabriel mountains, transported them to palomar mtn and to sun rise highway releasing several in these areas Pictures were taken of one of the bears on palomar. . We were working a fire on surise highway 12 or 15 years ago. A federal wild life officer was at fire camp so I ask him if he knew about any relocation of bears. He told me the state f&g was doing it due to over population and bears showing up in communities . With all of the freeways there is no way a bear could find its way to palomar.

    Sent from my iPad


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