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More bears showing up at Cascades campgrounds

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Campers who have visited Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest this summer are reporting an increase in bears showing up at campsites.

Bears have a really strong sense of smell and are lured by our garbage.

Most of the bear encounters stemmed from campers leaving food out where they aren't supposed to.

Typically, the bears flee from humans, but that could change as fall approaches and they're more eager to store fat for the winter.

It's not so much human safety that officials are worried about: Bears that become reliant on humans for food often have to be euthanized because they won't stay away from campsites or other populated areas.

"What we say in bear smart circles is, 'A fed bear is a dead bear,'" said Colton Whitworth with the U.S. Forest Service.

The best thing you can do to prevent bears from visiting your campsite is to follow the 20-foot rule: Store the food 20 feet away from where you're camping, and also prepare your food 20 feet away from where you're camping, Whitworth said.

If you do see a bear in the woods, experts say you need to stay calm. Never turn your back on wildlife -- and don't run. Just make sure you give the bear its space.

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