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Bear trap set at Pearson Elementary

Evidence of an ursine visitor to Hilder Pearson Elementary School has district officials urging families to stay away from the school’s playground.

There hasn’t been an actual bear sighting at the school, located at 15650 Central Valley Road, said North Kitsap School District spokeswoman Chris Case on Wednesday.

But a statement from the district said at least one bear has been visiting the school grounds for two weeks. The bear, or bears, have been eating plums and berries and leaving behind scat.

Case added school employees noticed markings on nearby trees.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have set a trap and will monitor it during the week. The trap will not be set during the weekend, according to the statement.

The type of trap, called a culvert trap, looks like a big barrel and is baited with something sweet, often doughnuts, said Fish and Wildlife spokesman Craig Bartlett.

If the trap is successful, the bear will likely be relocated across the Hood Canal to the Olympic Mountains.

“Often times they just disappear,” Bartlett said. “We put out traps and never hear from them again.”

Case said if the bear is not trapped by the start of school Sept. 9 students will be kept inside for recess.

“We don’t want them out there on the wild chance there could be a bear,” Case said.

In the meantime, families and children are advised to avoid the playground until further notice.

Case and Bartlett noted that bear sightings are fairly common in this area, this time of year.

It’s not the first time in recent months that a bear has caused concern at a North Kitsap school. On June 3 the district restricted students from walking home from Poulsbo Elementary at 18531 Noll Road NE after a bear sighting.

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