Ranger Emma Johnson did have a busy day on Tuesday, June 25th. Guest from the Hampton Roads Academy arrived for some self-guided geocaching. Our friends from theVirginia Institute of Marine Science's Chesapeake Champions Camp came for a guided Fossil Frenzy Hike and canoe trip on Taskinas Creek. Little did she knowwe would have a surprise visit from a Black Bear.
While more common among parks in the piedmont and mountains, there are bear populations as far east as the Great Dismal Swamp area in Hampton Roads. There have been sightings on the upper portions of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. But there have been no evidence of sustained populations. Along the I-64 corridor between Richmond and Newport News, bears are very rare. Thanks to Emma and her I-phone, we have proof that there is one in the area.
The bear seemed to be crossing the entrance road between Woodstock Pond heading to Taskinas Creek. Members of our maintenance staff saw it somewhere else as well. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, it is probably the same male bear that has been seen around Camp Perry, Ft Eustis, and the Colonial Parkway.
Again, black bears are a rare sight here at these tips from the VDGIF in mind:
- Hiking at dawn or dusk may increase your chances of meeting a bear.
- Use extra caution in places where hearing or visibility is limited, such as brushy areas, nearstreams, where trails round a bend and on windy days.
- Reduce your chances of surprising a bear on the trail by making noise, talking or singing.
- Make sure children are close to you or within your sight at all times.
- Always keep your dog on a leash (as is required at all Virginia State Parks).
- Keep calm and a good distance from bears and other wildlife, and you can enjoy viewing these wonderful creatures.
Directions to York River State Park: From I-64, take the Croaker Exit 231B. Go north on Route 607 (Croaker Rd.) for one mile, then right on Route 606 (Riverview Rd.) about one and a half miles to the park entrance. Take a left turn into the park.