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Bears at Camp
Bonni Braswell took this photo of the smaller bear leaving the kitchen of Cabin 2. Fortunately, all the food was in the refrigerators so he didn't get a meal.
(Last updated 22 July 2001)

Rapidan Camps is in Bear Country, and once in a very rare while, bears come through camp looking for food. In late June 2001, for about a week, a mother and her cub were often seen around our cabins and the campgrounds downriver.

Like all bears in the Shenandoah mountains, these bears eat mostly insects and fruit.  Black bears pose almost no threat to humans unless threatened.

  • Do not approach any bears; if you find yourself close, walk away slowly
  • Do not come between a mother bear and her cub
  • Take care not to corner or surprise any bear.  Make noise while walking.
  • Children outside should be accompanied by an adult when bears have recently been sighted
  • If you fear bears, at night always use a flashlight

We must also encourage these bears to move on by not giving them any food.  If the bears get too used to being around humans, they may eventually become aggressive and demand food.  Bears accustomed to humans are very likely to be killed either by park officials if the bears become aggressive, or by hunters if the bears mistakenly see them as a source of food.  If you see any signs of bears

  • Make sure to keep cabin doors closed at all times, and lock the doors at night
  • Do not leave any food or garbage unattended outside for any period of time

For more information about bears, visit the entertaining Guide to Shenandoah National Park--About Bears page or the Virginia Game and Fisheries Bear Information Page.

For questions about Rapidan Camps, please contact the President and Registrar via email.