Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ponderosa Campground near Payson closed due to bear attack

Ponderosa campground closed due to May 31 bear attack
Tonto National Forest, Payson, Ariz. 
Payson, Ariz. (May 31, 2012) – Tonto National Forest officials announced today a temporary closure due to a bear attack at the Ponderosa Campground.  The area closure order is effective beginning at 2:30 pm today until August 31, unless rescinded sooner. 

The campground closure area is bounded by the junction of Hwy 260 and Forest Road (FR) 405-A, south to Forest Road 893 continuing south on FR 893 until its junction with Forest Trail 37, then south on Trail 37 to the Hellsgate Wilderness boundary line, then northeast along the Wilderness boundary line to FR 405 and north along FR 405 to its junction with Hwy 260, then south to its junction with Forest Road 405-A.  

The following roads in this area are closed:  FR 405-A, FR 405, FR 893, FR 1625, and Forest Trail 37.

            The purpose of the closure is to provide for public health and safety during the management of the bear attack incident.

According to Arizona Game and Fish officials in an earlier news release today describing the attack: 
An Arizona woman was injured this morning when a bear ripped a hole in the tent where she, her husband and their dog had been sleeping at Ponderosa Campground in Tonto National Forest, just off Highway 260 about 10 miles east of Payson.
The attack occurred around 4:30 a.m.  After tearing open the tent, the bear reportedly stuck its head in and clawed at the 74-year-old woman, leaving her with bruises and a laceration on her scalp. She was treated at Payson Regional Medical Center for non-threatening injuries and released. The woman’s husband and dog were not hurt. 

For more information about wildlife on the Tonto National Forest, please contact the Arizona Game and Fish Mesa Office at 480-981-9400.

For further information about the area closure, see the forest website, or call the Payson Ranger District administrative offices at: 928-474-7900.

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