OGDEN -- An area resident was surprised to see a brown-colored bear a mile above the trail head in Beus Canyon on Monday.
James Thompson, 56, said he likes the area and often walks the trail above 46th Street.
But around 1:30 p.m. Monday, he heard a rustling noise and looked up to see a bear with brown fur pulling branches off a tree.
"I saw some limbs. You really can't see the whole horizon. I took a few more steps. I saw a bear reaching around the limbs.
"I just thought I'd turn around and head back," he said.
Thompson said he didn't think about taking pictures or looking more closely at the bear, just about his safety and the safety of others.
"I just was worried about other people," he said. "I told a couple with dogs. They thought it was neat. Another couple had a little girl. They thought it was neat, too."
Thompson said he contacted Ogden police, who put him in touch with Utah Wildlife Resources.
He was told that the bear likely was a black bear even though the fur was brown.
"We are not aware of having any other bears in Utah other than black bears," said Mark Hadley, a spokesman for Utah Department of Wildlife Resources. "There are black bears that are brown and even blonde."
Hadley said it's not unusual to have bears as close as the one that Thompson reported.
"This is the time of year, especially for the younger bears that have just been kicked out of the family, to be wandering," Hadley said.
Phil Douglass, northern region wildlife conservation outreach manager for DWR, said it's possible that Thompson really did see a bear.
"Last year, we had bears in Ogden Canyon and longtime residents had never even seen or heard of bears in Ogden Canyon," he said.
"(The bear) may be doing what bears do, just moving along trying to find a place where it gets what it needs and, hopefully, it won't be in a garbage can," he said.
Douglass said the incident should stand as a reminder that area trails run in places where wildlife lives, and that residents should be careful and take action to prevent conflict.
"We want people to learn to live with bears," he said.
One way is to make sure your garbage is not accessible to bears.
He advises that residents be aware of their surroundings when hiking and take precautions. Residents can learn about wildlife precautions on the website, wildlife.utah.gov.
Douglass said his organization strives to serve public safety, but also watches out for the needs of wildlife.
"With bears in particular, their numbers can fluctuate," he said. "They have a low reproductive potential."