Bear sightings in Newhall prompt response

A black bear visits a Stevenson Ranch home. courtesy photo.

Sheriff’s deputies and state wildlife officials were dispatched to Newhall Tuesday morning after receiving several reports of a bear near Lyons Avenue.

“We’ve had people call,” Sgt. Steve Sgrignoli of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Tuesday.

“Our last sighting was over in Newhall,” he said. “Deputies had responded.”

Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were also called about the sighting, he said.

The first sighting reported to officers of the California Highway Patrol was received shortly after 6:20 a.m. Tuesday for a black bear seen near the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, according to the CHP.

Bear seen in Valencia. photo by Rick McClure, for The Signal.

One report said the bear had been seen running in lanes on Lyons Avenue.

In the last couple of months, state and municipal authorities have received several calls of concern from residents in the Santa Clarita Valley about an increased number of bear sightings.

“We received our initial report of a bear at 6:30 a.m.,” Chris Stoots, spokesman for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife told The Signal Tuesday.

“We had officers called to locate the bear but it had run off into a place off road,” he said.

At 8:30 a.m., Fish & Wildlife officers received a second call of a bear being spotted.

“Then we had multiple calls about it,” Stoots said.

“Other agencies confirmed a bear seen running on the roadway,” he said.

“At this point, our concern is a collision (involving the bear) with a vehicle,” he said.

Although Tuesday’s bear sighting occurred earlier in the day and in a more populated area than sightings reported last month, Stoots said: “We’re not at a threshold to pursue this bear.”

More than half a dozen black bear sightings in the last month intensified two weeks ago with reports of nightly “routine” visits by some Stevenson Ranch residents of the last western stretch of developed land on the south side of Pico Canyon Road.

“He starts with the homes on Meadow Lane at 9 o’clock and by 10 he’s in my backyard,” Stevenson Ranch resident Linda Allen said at the time.

Allen lives on Greenbriar Drive, which dead ends into the wilderness.

Stoots told The Signal at the time of the Allen reports: “The threshold so to speak is not “aggressive” but problematic, posing imminent or a specific threat to property or public safety,” he said.

“Sightings are just that. This does not substantiate a threat or even conflict,” Allen said previously. “I have heard nothing of property damage or even encounters. We do not wait for or want escalation to the extent of injury but mere sightings of passing behavior isn’t alarming.”

What began a month ago as an amused reaction to the oddity of seeing a bear in the western suburbs of the Santa Clarita Valley – running from sheriff’s deputies on The Old Road June 8 and spotted by motorists traveling Interstate 5 near Castaic – has now shifted to a reaction among some of fear and dread as more and more bears show up in backyards.

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Bear seen in Stevenson Ranch earlier this past week.

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