While bears aren’t a regular occurrence in Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area today, prior to the early 1900s black bears lived the forests and woodlands of eastern Kansas and Missouri. Black bears are making a comeback in southern Missouri and are occassionally spotted in southern Kansas.
Before taking off on a camping or hiking trip, it’s a good idea to orient yourself with local wildlife and to learn what to do in case of an encounter. Missouri Department of Conservation and the National Park Service have come great information on where folks are likely to find bears and what to do in case of a bear encounter. Likewise, Missouri Department of Conservation and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism offer great information about the wildlife of each state.
If you want to become bear aware in a totally safe environment, check out the KU Natural History Museum to explore their exhibits on native wildlife and also bears from other habitats.