Black bears are usually afraid of people, but may be lured to campsites by the smell of food. [Photo courtesy Division of Wildlife Resources]

A fun weekend camping with your family and friends can turn tragic if you do things that lure bears into the area where you’re camping. Fortunately, it’s easy to keep bears away.

Make sure you keep your campsite or cabin area clean and free of litter. And don’t leave food out where a bear can get it.

John Shivik, mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said black bears are the only bears that live in Utah. He said back bears are usually scared of people and will do anything they can to avoid people.

“That can change, though, if a bear starts to associate your campsite or cabin area as a place where it can get food,” Shivik said.

Shivik said bears have an incredible sense of smell. And they have no problem eating the same kinds of food people eat.

The key to keeping bears out of your campsite or cabin area is cutting down on smells that might attract bears.

Shivik shared a few tips to not attract bears.

Store your food and scented items, such as deodorants and tooth paste, in areas where bears can’t get them. Inside a trailer or in the trunk of your car are good choices.

Keep your cooking grill clean. And clean anything you used to prepare, eat or clean up food.

Keep your campsite or cabin area clean. Don’t toss food scraps and other trash around.

Never feed a bear.

Shivik said by following these rules, you’ll not only help yourself, you’ll help others too.

He said a bear may not visit your campsite while you’re there, but the food you leave out and the litter you leave behind could bring a bear to that same area after you leave. And that could create a serious problem for people who camp in the area after you.