Roanoke City offers free 'living with black bears' class to residents

By Lezla Gooden - Reporter

ROANOKE,Va. - “I am not really sure and I don't remember,” said Rachel Zinn, resident. 

“Typically, you try and make yourself bigger and sometimes I have seen people even try and scare them off,” said Marc Laplante, resident.

That is how people we talked to said they would react if faced with a bear. 10 News has been tracking encounters with black bears in our region. Just last May, a black bear ran through downtown Roanoke and ended up in a tree.

“I have seen them near where we live in the county and I have seen them running in town and would be helpful to know what to do if we saw one,” Zinn said.  

We have been telling you about bear sightings in our region. In one incident, a bear ran through a family's yard in Blacksburg and in another in Blacksburg, a box truck clipped a bear. 

“It ran from back there and rushed straight by me and didn't even look in our direction and it was in a full gallop,” said Lindsay Long, who lives in Blacksburg.

In response to the expanding bear population, Roanoke City's park and recreation department will be offering a class to the public on what to do if you come face-to-face with a bear. 

“Even for those people who aren't really into camping or fishing or hiking, if you live anywhere in the suburban surrounding areas like in our valley, chances are you might encounter them,” said Stephanie Long, parks and recreation marketing coordinator.

The class is free to the public and only requires an online registration. 

“We want to encourage people to get outside and  help with any interactions and give tips,” Long said. 


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