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Bear Fest events planned for Lake Tahoe

JEREMY MORRISON, Sun News Service

In an effort to familiarize the public about our slightly hairier neighbors, there will be two days of education and demonstrations around Lake Tahoe June 24 and 25.

On June 24 in South Lake Tahoe and the next day in Incline Village, the U.S. Forest Service, along with a host of other agencies and organizations, is sponsoring Bear Fest 2000: The Bear Facts.

“This will be the biggest event of its type that’s ever been held,” said Bob Malm, program director for the Bear Preservation League, another of the event’s sponsors.

The festival will feature demonstrations of bear-proof products, such as food bags to hang from trees and metal boxes for garbage. There will also be biologists who specialize on Black Bears to talk with visitors.

A wildlife biologist from Yosemite National Park, Kate McCurdy, will be on hand with her dog, Logan. Logan is a Karelian Bear Dog, known for its ability to track and chase bears.

“I’m pretty sure he’s a Karelian Squirrel Dog,” McCurdy joked, explaining that the dog is naturally aggressive and has to be trained to focus on bears. “He’d chase deer if we didn’t break him of it.”

Keeping quite busy in Yosemite, Logan helps locate bears in campgrounds and camper-populated areas. The dog’s extremely loud bark is its most effective tool of the trade, according to McCurdy.

“It’s been great having him on the team,” said McCurdy of the 3-year-old dog. “He’s cheap and he works hard.”

While some of his breed are aggressive towards people other than their trainer, McCurdy said Logan is particularly well-mannered and good around children.

“He’s a nice little PR creature,” McCurdy said, adding that she’s looking forward to bringing Logan to the Bear Fest 2000 days.

The June 24 Bear Fest in South Lake Tahoe will be from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Lake Tahoe Community College. The North Lake’s festival will be on June 25, at 960 Lakeshore Drive near the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village, also from 10 a.m. until 4 pm.

In addition to the U.S. Forest Service and Bear Preservation League, event sponsors include the California Department of Fish and Game, Nevada Division of Wildlife, Nevada State Parks and Recreation, the Washoe Tribe, Mcclintock Metal Fabrications, San Dimas Technology Center, Box Masters and the Folsom Zoo.


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