U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Witmer, G.W. 2019. Black bear use of forest roads in western Washington. Proceedings of the Wildlife Damage Management Conference 18:34-


Radiolocations (108) of 20 black bears were used to assess use or avoidance of 3 forest road types in western Washington. Distances of bears to each type of road were compared to distances of 108 random points using t-tests. Females and males avoided 2-lane roads, while only males avoided 1-lane roads, the most common road type in the area. Females, but not males, were located closer to overgrown, spur roads than expected. This road type has substantial cover of grasses, forbs, and berry-producing shrubs along with protective tree cover. This situation may provide easy travel for females along with security cover and a relatively abundant source of high-energy foods that could favor high reproductive success. It also suggests that 1-lane roads and overgrown roads are the best places to locate supplemental feeding stations aimed at providing nutrition to female bears in the spring.