No one has actually seen a black bear near Mt. Tam but there are signs one is lurking around.
A black bear may be foraging in the Kent Lake area of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed in Marin County, according to the Marin Municipal Water District.
A water district employee who was hiking and two bicyclists who were riding in that area in late August came upon scat about the size of what a black bear would leave, the district's watershed manager Mike Swezy said Tuesday morning.
The scat also contained Manzanita berries, which bears are known to eat, he said.
"No one has actually seen the bear. All we've seen is what appears to be bear scat," Swezy said.
A black bear was seen in the Marin Headlands area in 2003, and there also were reports of a black bear in the Point Reyes National Seashore area last year, Swezy said.
There is not much chance of a human encountering a bear, Swezy said.
California's black bear population has increased in recent years, and the animals have been seen in areas along the Central Coast and mountains of Southern California where they have not historically been known to live, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.
Between 25,000 and 30,000 black bears are now estimated to occupy 52,000-square-miles of California, fish and game officials said.
Swezy said a black bear in Marin County would be noteworthy but not that uncommon.