Bear-crossing signs going up at Spooner Summit |

Bear-crossing signs going up at Spooner Summit

As many as four bear-crossing signs are expected to be installed around the intersection of U.S. Highway 50 and State Route 28 at Spooner Summit. They will be the first of their kind in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Nevada.

“It’s really important, and we want them up around the lake and around the basin,” said Ann Bryant, a founding member of Tahoe’s Bear Preservation League. “This is a start.”

When bears are killed at Tahoe, concerned residents often effect change. That was the case after August 1998, when the California Department of Fish and Game killed a mother bear and a cub, orphaning another cub. From that, the Bear Preservation League was formed. It responds to bear complaints basinwide, trying to educate residents about how to coexist with bears.

Another death has led to the proposed signs.

Glenbrook resident Gail Turle, one of the league’s more than 100 members, was upset when a mother and two cubs were hit and killed by cars near Spooner Summit on Halloween night last year. She contacted the Nevada Department of Transportation about the possibility of erecting bear-crossing signs there, a common crossing place for Tahoe black bears.

The state agency agreed.

“Bears have been hit in this region and in this area in particular. That’s why we’re putting up the signs there; it has a history,” said Scott Magruder, spokesman for NDOT. “These will be the first bear-crossing signs in Nevada.”

More than 10 bears were reportedly hit in that area in the 1990s.

The signs should be up within a month. They will be yellow, say “bear crossing” and depict a full-grown bear and a cub.

“When (an NDOT official) told me a cub would be on there, too, I was is seventh heaven because of the cubs that were killed. I just think it’s so appropriate,” Turle said. “It almost brings tears to my eyes.”

Oliver, the orphaned cub from the August 1998 killing, became a symbol for the Preservation League and was the subject of limited-edition paintings sold last year called “Oliver’s Plea: Stop the Killing,” which raised money for the league.

Oliver was killed by a car last year on Tahoe’s west shore.

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