Bears are Back

For decades after the late 19th century, there was a paucity of bears in California around the populated areas of the state. You might only run into a bear in remote wilderness settings or come across notorious campground bears in crowded places like Yosemite.

However, starting in 2001 and from the perspective of 2009 - its clear that bears are on their ways towards becoming suburban interlopers like deer and raccoons, and more recently, mountain lions. Last year in Petaluma, former chicken capital of the state, a bear was seen walking down a main steet in downtown.

Now in August 2009, bears have been spotted twice in the Santa Cruz mountains - a tree-shrouded range of hills that separate the coast from the San Francisco Bay. Old names like "Bear Gulch" and "Bear Valley" on topographical maps once again actually have some meaning.

Of course, back in the 18th and early 19th centuries, California was awash in both Grizzlies and Black bears.

During the Portola expedition, the Spanish explorers led by Pedro Fages came across a valley teaming with Grizzly bears outside San Luis Obispo and named the place Arroyo de Los Osos, Today, there is an active movement to restore the Grizzly to the state, as well.

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