Bear Safety Guide For Camping In The Southwest United States


When camping in southwestern parts of the nation, it is important to keep bear safety in mind. The most common species in this region is the black bear. It inhabits many wooded areas and may live near rivers in arid locales. These tips can help you stay safe:

1. This large brown or black animal usually comes in contact with humans when convenient food sources are located nearby. It normally avoids humans unless it becomes familiar with them. To prevent this, cooperate with fellow campers to eliminate any food sources.

2. If you camp with pets, do not leave cat or dog food outside where wild animals can find it. Make sure the bears cannot easily access water bowls or bags full of trash. Avoid camping near any fruit-bearing trees or gardens that could attract a hungry bear.

3. Black bears climb well, so a fence must measure six feet or taller to deter them. Some fences provide surfaces they can easily grip. Outdoor lights usually will not prevent this animal from entering a camping area.

4. When you see a distant bear, change direction to avoid it. Never run away from this animal or it will chase you. If it comes in contact with you, do your best to behave calmly and back up at a slow pace.

5. It is rare for a black bear to act aggressively. If one attacks you, use any weapons you have available. Pepper sprays or stones may prove helpful. As soon as possible, contact the local authorities for emergency assistance.

6. If you feel the need to shoot a bear, remember this is only legal in some situations. Arizona permits it when bears endanger humans, farm animals are killed or gun owners obtain the appropriate hunting license. Do not use a firearm near someone else’s home unless it is absolutely necessary.

Basically, it is wise to avoid providing any convenient sources of food or water on your campsite. A carefully selected camping location can also enhance bear safety. Remember to exercise extreme caution and try to avoid direct contact.

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Best Equestrian Campgrounds In Arizona


Some of the best equestrian campgrounds in Arizona include Groom Creek, Strayhorse and Little Elden Springs. With many square miles of desert and mountain terrain, horseback riding is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the state. Campgrounds catering to horseback riders are located in several different counties and are therefore a relatively easy driving distance from various cities throughout the state. Some horse camps are primarily for equestrian who already own their own horses, and some others offer riding lessons or rentals as well. Campgrounds mostly have individual sites to rent, though a few have large group campsites as well.

Strayhorse Campground

Located in the White Mountains of central Arizona, the Strayhorse Campground has two major horse trails going east to west. The campground also has a corral available for horses and easy access for vehicles towing large horse trailers. Strayhorse is located at a higher mountain elevation and provides some cooler summer temperatures away from the desert heat. Campsites include space for trailers as well as trucks or RVs for overnight equestrian getaways.

Groom Creek Campground

Groom Creek is a horse campground located near the town of Prescott, and the US Forest Service recently had the facility renovated to accommodate larger numbers of campers and their horses. Reservations in advance are required for spaces at this equestrian campground. This campground’s location offers plenty of shade from the nearby pine forest, making it a welcome escape from the much hotter desert during the summer.

Little Elden Springs Campground

The Little Elden Springs campground is only a short distance outside Flagstaff, in northern Arizona. It’s designated only for horse owners, and it has 15 campsites big enough to fit horse trailers as well as larger pickup trucks. Each campsite has all the needed accommodations for horses, including corrals and water stations. Little Elden Springs has trail access to the Mount Elden trail system, which is made up of over 30 miles of trails. A favorite among horseback riders is the Deer Hill Trail, which offers great views of the nearby San Francisco mountains. Campers are also advised to make reservations in advance at Little Elden Springs, since the campsites fill up quickly during the spring and summer months.

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