Camas High School is known for having local residents come out to support its athletic teams.
But the newest spectator isn’t exactly a welcome addition.
The Papermaker cross country team has had to relocate two meets in the past seven days due to sightings of a black bear or bears at the Round Lake course.
Last week, a meet against Evergreen was moved across the street to Heritage Trail at Lacamas Lake, after some runners who were warming up encountered the bear.
Apparently, the black bear is a big fan of cross country, as it showed up again yesterday during the Camas-Skyview meet.
The junior varsity girls race was underway, and as they were making their way through the course to the finish line, a Skyview varsity runner who was warming up for his race, shouted, “There’s a bear!” according to an eyewitness account.
“We were scared,” said Evan Combs, another Skyview runner.
The Camas School District and police department were called. Girls who did not finish the race were allowed to run with the varsity team at Heritage Trail.
“There have been approximately five different sightings in the last 10 days,” said Sgt. Scot Boyles of the Camas Police Department. “If you see one, don’t interact with it. Walk away slowly and call the authorities”
Boyles said there was a black bear sighting on Highway 14 near exit 12 a few days ago, but the bear was gone when police arrived.
“I’ve been here 15 years, and there has not been this frequent (reporting) of bear sightings,” he said. “There has been an occasional sighting, but this has been pretty repetitive.”
Lacamas Park and the Round Lake area are still open to the public. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is attempting to locate the bear or bears.
Those who see a bear are asked to call Camas Police at 834-4151 or Fish and Wildlife at 696-6211.