US Capitol Christmas Tree News

Oregon noble fir cut down for US Capitol Christmas tree

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Reposted from KGW 8 — Jonah Gladney has cut down his share of trees, but seldom such a healthy specimen and never in front of an audience.

Most of the trees the fire crew supervisor from Stayton encounters are snags and headed for a burn pile, not the West Lawn of the United States Capitol.

Gladney took time out from leading a crew of wildland firefighters on prescribed burn duty in the Detroit and Sweet Home areas to help harvest the 82-foot-tall noble fir on Friday that will decorate the nation's Capitol during the holidays.

The tree was supported with two slings from a crane as it was cut, to prevent it from falling and its branches from breaking.

It's the first time in the 47-year history of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Program that a noble has been selected and the second time Oregon has supplied the tree. A 70-foot Douglas fir from Umpqua National Forest was chosen in 2002.

During Friday morning's cutting ceremony, 50 lucky Oregonians were able to attend in person, with hard hats on their heads and smartphones in their hands.

The soggy conditions didn't dampen their spirits as they cheered the moment the tree cracked and swayed free. Dozens of others waited at River Bend County Park for the replay to be shown later on a giant screen.

The Statesman Journal drone team captured live footage from above. Members from 10 media outlets did the same from the ground.

Never has so much attention been paid to a tree being felled in Oregon, which has a proud history of logging.

Gladney, with his wife and two young children among the crowd, called it his "30 seconds of glory."

With all eyes on him and the tree, he said he felt the pressure "a little bit at first, but then the saw started and it all came naturally."

Vernon Esplin, the owner of Buena Vista Arbor Care and experienced at crane tree removal, set the stage for Gladney. He climbed to the top to set the rigging and secure the noble. While there, he dropped a line for a measurement.

The noble was 2 feet taller than officials originally thought and was 28 inches diameter at breast height. Esplin said the cutting team estimated the tree to weigh 14,000 to 16,000 pounds.

Tracy Beck, forest supervisor with Willamette National Forest, counted 26 rings on one of the souvenir rounds taken 8 feet up the tree and estimated the noble to be about 35 years old.

The number of spectators, shuttled to the site in rented vans, was limited by the size of the area surrounding the tree and the need to accommodate a crane and supporting equipment provided by Papé and Axis Crane.

Officials from the Willamette National Forest had planned for and anticipated this moment for more than a year. A shadow team observed and pitched in last year when the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was harvested in Montana.

Joanie Schmidgall, a member of that team, said Oregon was able to plan a bigger cutting ceremony, in part because the 79-foot Engelmann spruce from Montana was felled in a more remote area.

The perfect tree from Oregon was chosen in August from a handful of finalists by the visiting Architect of the Capitol. Oregon foresters, recreation specialists and a botanist presented a list of candidates.

The location was kept secret until Friday. It took about 50-minute drive to get to the site, including the last 8 miles on a gravel Forest Service road beyond House Rock Campground at an elevation of 3,500 feet.

Once cut, the tree was lifted by a crane and loaded onto a flatbed truck which got stuck in the mud on a bend in the road on its way out of the forest.

Heavy equipment will be used Saturday to free to the truck and trailer which will then head for a warehouse in Sweet Home, a small logging town. Panels, including some see-through, will be added to the flatbed and the tree's branches gently tucked inside for the 3,000-mile journey to Washington, D.C.

A celebration will be held Friday, Nov. 9 in Sweet Home before the tree begins following a reverse path of the Oregon Trail.

A series of events will be hosted in communities along the way. Eleven of the 24 stops are in Oregon, including 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the State Capitol in Salem.

Oregon also is providing 70 smaller companion trees to decorate government buildings and other public spaces, plus decorations for all. Oregonians have made 10,000 homemade ornaments, 3,500 for the big tree and 6,500 for the smaller trees., 503-399-6710, or follow on Twitter @CapiLynn and Facebook @CapiLynnSJ.

2018 Capitol Christmas Tree Dates Announced

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) selects the annual U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in consultation with the United States Forest Service.

This year's tree, sponsored by the Oregon Congressional Delegation led by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, was chosen from the Willamette National Forest. The tree will be harvested on November 2, 2018, and will travel cross-country to Washington, D.C. by truck.

The Capitol Christmas Tree will make stops in communities along the route to the nation's capital and arrive at the U.S. Capitol on Monday, November 26, 2018, at 10 a.m. The AOC's Capitol Grounds and Arboretum team will secure the tree and decorate it with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from the people of Oregon.

The tree will be lit by the Speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, during a ceremony on the West Front Lawn beginning at 5 p.m.

The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a time-honored tradition of more than 50 years. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2019.

Learn more about the tree selection process on AOC's blog.

From the Architect of the Capitol

Timber! Willamette National Forest to Host Public Tree Cutting Celebration for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 22, 2018

The 2018 United States Capitol Christmas Tree will be harvested from the Willamette National Forest on November 2, 2018. The Sweet Home Ranger District is hosting two public events so Oregonians can both see and celebrate this important moment in the yearlong U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree campaign.

Come join us to celebrate the cutting of the tree! Starting today, 50 lucky people who register here will be able to attend the tree cutting event. The number of public attendees is limited by the size of the area surrounding the tree, plus the need to accommodate tree-lifting cranes and a large truck. The event will include brief remarks by the Forest Service employees, local officials, and partners. Attendees will meet at River Bend County Park in Foster, Ore., at 9:00 a.m. and will be shuttled to the site, which is approximately one hour away on rural forest roads. The tree cutting will take place between 11:15 a.m. and noon. The tree will be cut with a saw donated by Husqvarna, and the tree-lifting crane and supporting equipment provided by The Papé Group and Axis Crane. Attendees will be shuttled back and should return to River Bend County Park by 1:30 p.m. While there will be tents and bathroom facilities, attendees will be outside the entire time and should be prepared for inclement weather, including rain or snow. For full event details, participant requirements and online registration, visit

A second celebratory event will be held at River Bend County Park mid-afternoon, beginning at 1:30 p.m. A video of the tree cutting will be broadcast on a giant screen and light refreshments will be provided. This event is open to the public and registration is not required. There is no limit to the number of people who may attend. In attendance will be the “tree team” comprised of Forest Service officials, partners, and sponsors.


“We are thrilled to be able to share this exciting part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree’ s journey with our fellow Oregonians. The people of Oregon have been instrumental to the success of this project. From the kindness of our cooperators to everyone who helped make ornaments and tree skirts, Oregonians have come together to send this beautiful Noble Fir and over 10,000 ornaments as a gift from the state of Oregon to the U.S. Capitol and all Americans,” said Nikki Swanson, U.S. Forest Service Sweet Home District Ranger.

After the tree is cut, it will come to Sweet Home where it will be prepared for the long journey east on a Kenworth W990 truck hauled by Central Oregon Truck Company with support from The Papé Group. The next step in the tree’s journey will begin on Friday, November 9, when it departs from Sweet Home, Ore. and begins its 3,000-mile road trip through Oregon and across the country to Washington, D.C. The theme for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail.

Accordingly, the tree will depart Oregon following the reverse path along the Oregon Trail with stops in Albany, Springfield, McKenzie Bridge, Oakridge, Bend, Detroit, Salem, Oregon City, The Dalles, and Baker City. A series of festive events will be hosted by communities along the way and attendees can sign banners on the sides of the truck, learn more about the Forest Service, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more. A complete schedule and list of special events is available at

The trip to Washington, D.C. is made possible thanks to large and small companies and volunteers locally and across America who provide support of time and resources, including The Papé Group, KGW8, Kenworth Truck Company, Central Oregon Truck Company, SkyBitz, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Hale Trailer, VanDoIt Adventure Vans, Alaska Airlines, Husqvarna, Meritor, Pilot Flying J, Truckload Carriers Association, Willamette Valley Visitors Association, Axis Crane, Eaton, Great West Casualty Company, the National Forest Foundation and the City of Sweet Home.

The U.S. Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree every year since 1970. In January 2018, the U.S. Forest Service announced that the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree would come from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. The 80-foot noble fir tree was selected by a representative of the Architect of the Capitol in August. This will be the first time in the program’s 47-year history that a noble fir has been a U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

The tree will be displayed on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., with a public tree- lighting ceremony in early December 2018. The last time Oregon was chosen to provide the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was in 2002, when a tree was selected from the Umpqua National Forest.


Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C. from the Willamette National Forest to decorate government buildings and public spaces this December. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments.

Hillsboro Fourth Grader is Chosen to Light U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 15, 2018


Sweet Home, Ore., October 15, 2018 – This December, Brigette Harrington, a fourth grader at Jackson Elementary School in Hillsboro, Ore., will be flying to Washington, D.C., to join the U.S. Speaker of the House in lighting the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree during the official ceremony.

Each year, a different national forest is chosen to provide “The People’s Tree” for the holiday season, and this year, Oregon’s Willamette National Forest was selected for the honor. A gift to the people of the United States, it will be displayed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in December 2018. The tree-lighting ceremony date is still to be determined by the U.S. House of Representatives.

In celebration of Oregon providing the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, Gov. Kate Brown invited all Oregon fourth graders to write an essay on what they love about Oregon’s outdoors – a topic that matched the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Find Your Trail!” More than 1,200 students participated in the essay contest, and the governor selected Brigette’s essay which uses the form of “The Night Before Christmas” to poetically describe Oregon’s four seasons. (Read the submittal here.)

"It was exciting to have so many young Oregonians submit essays about our beautiful state. Oregon has a strong tradition of exploring our outdoor spaces and I'm excited to see this continue in the next generation of Oregon explorers," said Governor Brown. "I particularly loved Brigette's reflections on Oregon's four seasons, and I am thrilled that she will be representing all Oregonians at the U.S. Capitol."

Brigette and one adult guardian will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to take part in the tree-lighting ceremony alongside members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the public. She will also be invited to attend festivities around the tree lighting that take place throughout the Capitol.

“I’m feeling pretty amazed and excited. It’s such an honor, and I’m excited to light the tree!” said Brigette.

All Oregon fourth graders are eligible to receive a free annual pass to hundreds of parks, lands and waters across the United States for an entire year through the Every Kid in a Park program. They are also eligible for a free permit to cut their own Christmas tree from an Oregon National Forest.

On the Road to Washington, D.C.
This November, Oregonians of all ages can virtually follow the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as it travels along the Oregon Trail, plus see the tree in person at fun community events in Sweet Home, Albany, Springfield, McKenzie Bridge, Oakridge, Bend, Detroit, Salem, Oregon City, The Dalles and Baker City. Information about the tree, travel route, schedule and special events is available at



Announcing the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Sweet Home, Ore. – October 2, 2018 – Every year a different National Forest is selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the Christmas season. This year, the Willamette National Forest, in partnership with nonprofit agency Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon, will bring this special gift from Oregon to Washington, D.C. for the 2018 holiday, by way of cross-country tour involving more than 25 communities along the way. The 2018 tour announcement is appropriately timed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, one of the inspirations for the 2018 theme of “Find Your Trail”. 

On Friday, Nov. 2, the tree will be cut and prepared for the more than 3,000-mile journey that commemorates the second inspiration – 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail – by following a reverse path of the trail. A series of festive events will be hosted by local communities at museums, main streets, city halls, state capitols, markets, retailers, high schools, and even a parade. Attendees will have the chance to sign banners on the sides of the truck to wish the tree well, learn more about the Willamette National Forest and the great state of Oregon, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more.

Host communities include:

  • Friday, Nov. 9: Sweet Home High School, 1641 Long St, Sweet Home, OR 97386 (12:00 p.m. Street Fair, 6:00 p.m. Parade and 7:30 p.m. Program)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Linn County Circuit Court, 300 SW Fourth Avenue, Albany, OR 97321 (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Cabela’s, 2800 Gateway Street, Springfield, OR 97477 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: McKenzie River Ranger Station, 57600 McKenzie Highway 126, McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413 (10:30 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: 48257 E. 1st , Oakridge, OR 97463 (2:30 – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 12: 450 SW Powerhouse Dr., Ste 422, Bend, OR 97702 (11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 12: 160 Detroit Ave, Detroit, OR 97342 (5:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St NE, Salem, OR 97301(10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Oregon City, OR
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: The Dalles City Hall, 313 Court Street, The Dalles, Oregon 97058 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: Baker City, OR
  • Friday, Nov. 16: City Hall, 911 North 7th Avenue, Pocatello, ID 83201 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 17: Ft. Bridger State Historic Site, 37001 Isthmus Loop I-80 Fort Bridger, WY 82933 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: 975 Snowy Range Road, Laramie, WY 82070 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Scottsbluff, NE including parade route from 23rd St. to 17th Street on Broadway and ceremony on the 1700 block of Broadway (6:00-7:00 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 19: Otoe County Courthouse, 110 South 11th, Nebraska City, NE 68410 (6:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 20: Perry High School, 404 Lecompton Rd, Perry, KS 66073 (12:00 – 1:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 20: MHC Kenworth, 1524 N. Corrington, Kansas City, MO 64120 (4:00 – 5:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 21: Independence Uptown Market, 201 W. Truman Rd, Independence, MO 64050 (9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: 2018 Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade, 7th Street and Market Street, St. Louis, MO (8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • Friday, Nov. 23: The Harrison Pavilion, 101 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, OH 45030 (2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 25: Andrews Air Force Base, 1500 Perimeter Rd. Joint Base Andrews, MD (11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • *The locations of stops are subject to change. All times are approximate and do not account for unforeseen weather and traffic delays. Monitor website at for the latest updates.

The official tree lighting will occur in early December as determined by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the first tree selected from the Willamette National Forest and the second tree to come from Oregon.

The trip to Washington, D.C. is made possible thanks to large and small companies and volunteers locally and across America who provide support of time and resources, including Pape Kenworth, KGW8, Kenworth Truck Company, Central Oregon Truck Company, SkyBitz, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Hale Trailer, VanDOit Adventure Vans, Alaska Airlines, Husqvarna, Meritor, Pilot Flying J, Truckload Carriers Association, Willamette Valley Visitors Association, Axis Crane, Eaton, Great West Casualty Company, the National Forest Foundation and the City of Sweet Home.

For tour information, event details, news and updates, and to track the tree cross-country, visit or

Free Outdoor Recreation Passes Available for Fourth Graders and their Families

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


It’s back to school time! And with the start of the new school year, it’s also time for all fourth graders and their families to claim their free Every Kid in a Park pass which allows free entry into all federal parks, forests, and recreation areas for a full year.

Starting September 1st, fourth graders can print out a paper voucher for free entry into all federal lands by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website at Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. For office locations, visit The voucher and passes are valid for the entire school year, September 1, 2018-August 31, 2019.

The Forest Service is partnering with schools and educators across Oregon and Washington to plan Every Kid in a Park events in local communities and distribute passes at back-to-school events this fall. For more information on upcoming Every Kid in a Park events, contact your local forest.

Teachers or adults who engage fourth-graders through a youth-serving organization can print paper passes, and find activities and lesson plans, at

Today, more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces. At the same time, kids are spending more hours than ever in front of screens instead of outside. The Every Kid in a Park initiative encourages valuable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in the spectacular places that belong to us all and aims to inspire future generations to serve as stewards of these places. Research shows that children ages 9-11 are at a unique developmental stage in their learning where they begin to understand how the world around them works in more concrete ways. By targeting fourth graders, the program works to ensure every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their public lands by the time he or she is 11 years old. For more information, visit


Governor Brown Launches 4th Grade Essay Contest: Win the chance to light the tree in D.C.!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Calling all fourth grade students: “Why do you love spending time outdoors?”

One lucky, young Oregonian will have the opportunity to fly to Washington, D.C. and join the Speaker of the House in lighting the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree during the official ceremony. To coincide with the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Find Your Trail!”, we’re launching an essay contest asking 4th grade students to write letters about what they love about Oregon’s outdoors. Governor Kate Brown will select one letter from statewide submissions to receive a once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses paid trip for the winner and one guardian to travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in the tree-lighting ceremony alongside members of the House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and the public in attendance, and also attend festivities surrounding the tree lighting taking place throughout the capitol.

Applications and essay submissions are due by Friday, September 28, 2018. The winner will be announced October 12, 2018, with travel to Washington, D.C. the first week of December. Essays submissions should be formatted with 12 point font, 1 inch margins and double spacing. Letters should be no longer than 500 words and will be evaluated on the following criteria: relevant content, clear focus, and originality.

The online application is available on the Governor's website, located here.

Last day for submission- September 28, 2018
Winner announced- October 12, 2018


Instruction Guide now available for 3rd and 4th Grade Classrooms

Thursday, September 06, 2018

With September upon us, school is back in session and the U.S. Capitol Christmas offers a great learning opportunity for students. In partnership with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, we are pleased to offer the U.S. Capitol Tree Instruction Guide. The guide is designed to help third and fourth-grade teachers use this initiative as a context for investigating why Oregon is such a great place for growing trees. Through graphs and other data, students will examine where Oregon Christmas trees come from and where they go, and explore the importance of trees and forests to our state and beyond.

While the guide uses Oregon forests as inspiration, the content is relevant to any fourth-grade classroom wherever you may be! If you are third or fourth grade teacher or have a student in these grades, consider putting the tools in the guide to use in your classroom this fall, and then follow along with the tree's journey as it travels the Oregon Trail in reverse and out to Washington D.C. in November.

Download the Instruction Guide (PDF) here or request a hard copy of the guide by visiting

Happy learning!


Find an ornament while finding a trail this weekend

Friday, August 31, 2018


Two hundred glass ornaments were hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest for lucky adventurers to find in contest hosted by the Willamette Valley Visitors Association this summer. In addition to a keepsake ornament, over 120 lucky winners have been awarded prizes, and all who register their ornament will be entered into the grand prize: a three night, four day paid trip for two to Washington D.C. in December 2018 to see the lighting of the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.


There are still 82 ornaments in the forest and Labor Day Weekend is a great time to hit the trail! We're giving you some extra hints to help get you closer to finding the remaining treasures.

*Edited: maps will be updated weekly between now and the end of the contest on Oct. 2. Download this PDF with maps indicating areas to focus on in the forest. 

The contest ends on October 2, the anniversary of the National Trails System Act. Be sure to share your adventures using the hashtags: #FindYourTrail, #FindYourOrnament, #USCapitolChristmasTree and #ItsAllYours.



Be Bear Aware

Wednesday, August 22, 2018



Repurposed from Recreation.Gov
By Brian Dykstra, Scott Jackson, and Stephanie Coppeto, U.S. Forest Service

Safety in bear country begins before you stay in the campground or hit the trail.

Be Bear Aware: Bears exist in and around a majority of our public lands across the United States and are native and natural members of the wildlife community. Seeing a bear can be an exciting experience, one that will form a lasting memory of your visit. By learning more about bears and their curious nature, you can better prepare for your visit to bear country and make it a positive experience for both you and the bear

About Bears: Bears are curious and intelligent animals, capable of learning and modifying their behavior based on life experiences. Bears have an excellent sense of smell that can span miles and their eyesight is similar to a human’s. The Native Americans have a poignant saying: “A pine needle fell. The eagle saw it. The deer heard it. The bear smelled it.” Smell is a bear’s most fundamental and important sense.

Three bear species live in North America – black bears, brown bears and polar bears, with polar bears living only in the Arctic. Black and brown bears can be identified by these characteristics:
- Black bears (Ursus americanus) are the most abundant and widely distributed of the three species of North American bears. Black bears vary in color from jet black to cinnamon to white, although black is the color encountered most frequently. 

- Brown bears and grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) are the same species, even though there are notable differences between them. “Brown bears” typically live along the southern coast of Alaska where they have access to seasonally abundant spawning salmon. The smaller “grizzly bear” lives in the northern and interior areas of Alaska as well as the northern Cascades and Rocky Mountains of the lower 48 states.

Black and brown bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat a variety of plants and animals. Bear diets consist mainly of grasses, roots, berries, insects, and fish and animals, including dead animals. Bear feeding increases in late summer and fall as they prepare for winter hibernation. Bears are opportunistic eaters and can easily develop a taste for human and pet foods. In addition, bears seeking food can be attracted to non-foods that have a smell, such as toothpaste, handy-wipes, soap, some medications, cooking utensils and grills, bird seed and garbage. Most human-bear conflicts occur when bears access and become habituated to human food sources.

Safety when Camping in Bear Country
It is very important to never feed bears! Bears can quickly learn to associate people with food and easily become habituated to human food. Follow these simple guidelines when camping:
- Keep a clean camp. All food, toothpaste, soda and juices, and other bear attractants should be secured away from tents.
- Use food lockers when available or follow the campground’s food storage recommendations and guidelines for properly storing food while in the area.
- Use recycling and trash bins provided at campgrounds frequently instead of storing garbage at your campsite.
- Keep your pets leashed and secure their food between meals.
- While away from camp, secure food and garbage. 

Safety for Hiking in Bear Country
While hiking, you should always watch ahead for bears or bear signs. In their natural habitats, bears prefer to avoid humans but will react aggressively when startled or protecting cubs. Human confrontations with bears are usually the result of a sudden encounter with a bear protecting its space, cubs or food caches.

Use these tips when hiking in bear inhabited areas:
- Avoid surprising bears by making noise, as bears will avoid you if they can hear or smell you.
- Always give a bear space. Never approach, crowd, pursue or displace a bear you see ahead on the trail.
- Never get between a mother and her cub even if the cub appears to be alone or sick.
- Leave pets at home or keep them leashed. Loose dogs can startle bears and cause them to chase the dogs back to their owners. 

If You Encounter a Bear
Whether on the trail or in your campsite, do not run! Remain calm, group together and pick up small children. Continue to face the bear and back away slowly, talking calmly to identify yourself as a human and not another animal. If the bear continues to approach, try to scare it away by making yourself as large and imposing as possible and making loud noises. Carry and know how to use bear spray, which is available at many outdoor retailers and can be used to deter a charging bear.