Forest Service officials have closed some areas and segments of trail in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area due to recent black bear sightings in the area.

Fish Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser said the unusual move is due to the high number of bears in the popular hiking and recreation area.

"What we've seen here in the past few weeks is just a lot of black bears spending time right on the popular trails in the rattlesnake," Crowser said. "Although there are number of people who have seen bears, we haven't had any bad encounters. It's just an abnormal concentration of bears tied to the berries."

The closure will affect Trails 517, (The popular Spring Creek Trail), 517.1, and 28.1 and Trail 513 from the Woods Gulch Trailhead to its junction with trail 513.2. The closure also closes areas within a 1/8 mile buffer on some segments of these trails.

Also currently remaining open are: access to Stuart Peak from the Ravine Trailhead, Three Larches Trail in the Woods Gulch area, Wallman Trail and Sawmill gulch area trails.

Officials advise that if you recreate in the areas that remain open, expect contact with bears. Hike in groups, make noise, and carry bear spray.