MUNISING - The Michigan Department of Transportation has reopened the Deer Lake Roadside Park along M-28 in Alger County as of 9 a.m. today.
The park had been closed since Tuesday, July 29, because of a nuisance bear in the area. The park is located between Marquette and Munising along Lake Superior.
Newberry Transportation Service Center Manager Pete Paramski said MDOT regretted any inconvenience caused by the closure. "Keeping visitors safe and assuring they have a pleasant experience are the foremost goals of MDOT," Paramski said.
Staff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) attempted to trap and relocate the black bear that had reportedly been raiding garbage cans at the park. As of this morning, those attempts have been unsuccessful.
"We have had a higher number of nuisance bear complaints in recent weeks than what we would typically see at this point in the summer," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Brian Roell. "Due to the late start to spring the berry crop is behind schedule, which is leading to bears looking for other food sources, including trash and bird feeders. That is apparently what is happening at Deer Lake."
The DNR will now request permission from local landowners to place the trap in a nearby location on private land, allowing the park to remain open.
"The bear has not acted aggressively toward humans, but letting a bear become accustomed to people and manmade sources of food can lead to problems down the line, so we do hope that with landowner cooperation we will be successful in trapping and relocating this bear," Roell said.
Residents experiencing trouble with nuisance bears on private property should contact the nearest DNR office for assistance. If Deer Lake Roadside Park visitors witness a bear in the park, they should call the DNR's 24-hour hotline at 800-292-7800.