Pixel Tracker

Monday, December 17 , 2018, 4:42 am | Overcast 55º


Bear Gets Scare Being Trapped In Nojoqui County Park Restroom

A black bear became stuck in a restroom at Nojoqui Falls Park near Gaviota Monday night, causing damage before it finally escaped.

“He opened the door himself to go in, and then locked it somehow behind him,” Kathleen Ricci, a park host, posted on Facebook Tuesday morning about the 8 p.m. incident.

Pictures show the bear in the tiny window at least eight feet off the ground, perched atop the stall doors. 

"Man, this bear had some amazing balance," she told Noozhawk.. 

The animal eventually clawed and chewed his way out through the metal mesh window screen to escape, as she and law enforcement officers watched.

The bear, believed to be a male and approximately 400 pounds, made its escape before the humans had to intervene, she added. 

She said she was alerted to the bear’s presence by the noise created when it smashed around the restroom, and suspected it was anything from a raccoon to a bear.

"He made a mess in that bathroom," she told Noozhawk.

Through the incident, the bear did not make any verbal noises, she added.

"He was in no hurry to leave," she said, adding that he ran up a tree, came back down, and beat up a trash can before finally departing the area. 

"It was exciting," she added.

The bear sighting is the latest incident in the Gaviota area. 

“Usually, it seems like we have more problems in the springtime, but for whatever reason we’re having problems in the Gaviota area,” said Lt. Jamie Dostal from California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Typically, Fish and Wildlife officers will employ hazing techniques — making noise or firing rubber bullets — to encourage the bear to stay away.

The bear's restroom scare could have unintentionally provided a deterrence.

“That might be enough to make it not want to come there again,” Dostal said. 

People who encounter a bear should make loud noises and make themselves look big while retreating to a safe place, Dostal said.

People should avoiding running away since that could trigger the bear’s instinct, he added. 

“Typically, the bears will usually leave the area,” he added.

Extra precautions should be taken around cubs since mother bears are extremely protective.

California is home to black bears, which despite the name come in a variety of colors, including cinnamon brown. 

Several encounters, including two bears struck and killed by vehicles on Highway 101, have been reported in recent months in Santa Barbara County. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >