Bear makes nighttime visit to Manitou Springs church

This bear was euthanized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife Sunday. / Golden Police Department
This bear was euthanized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife Sunday. / Golden Police Department

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. — An unwelcome visitor in a very welcoming environment. A pastor at a local church says a bear has been paying a visit to the church for nearly a week now.

“There’s reasons we love Colorado. There’s reasons we live here,” said Pastor Dan Parton with Timberline Baptist Church in Manitou Springs.

The church is used to welcoming anyone. Well, almost anyone.

On Tuesday night, Parton was checking the church security cameras from his Woodland Park home when he spotted the bear, which he said probably weighs 300 pounds or more.

“I watched him for about 20 or 30 minutes before I called the police,” Parton said.

Bear sightings aren’t uncommon in this area. In fact, the church had another visitor in 2011. That bear enjoyed the spotlight.

But officials are warning people to watch out for the bear.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said three bears have been reported at homes in Teller County, and they’re warning everyone to be bear aware.

As for the bear at the church, a neighbor dropping off a bag of trash may keep him coming back.

“One of our neighbors had dropped their trash off here thinking they could put it in the trash can, which is locked up. The bear found the trash and got into it,” said Parton.

And as for getting caught, well, the bear is not fond of police.

“Anytime a car would drive by and the lights would flash, he would take off running, jump the wall and run back up the hill and then come back down when the car was gone,” Parton said.

UPDATE (September 1, 2017): A second, bigger bear showed up at the church Thursday night! See the video below.

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