WANAQUE - Ramapo Mountain State Forest will remain closed through the end of the week following reports of black bear encounters.
The most recent encounters involved five people being followed closely by a bear in two separate incidents over the weekend.
The bear believed to be involved in those encounters has been captured and euthanized, but the forest will remain closed as a precaution. Numerous traps will remain in place.
Three female hikers reported being pursued by a bear when they came upon a male hiker and his dog. The four escaped unharmed. The second encounter involved a bear following another male hiker on the park's Yellow Trail. According to the hiker, the bear repeatedly approached and swatted at him.
Two weeks earlier, a pair of hikers were closely followed by a potentially aggressive black bear at the forest. A third park visitor also came within close proximity of the same bear.
In most cases, encounters between people and bears end without incident.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds the public that black bears are wild animals and says it's very important for people who live in or visit New Jersey's bear country to be alert to their presence.