The Mancelona Middle School had a surprise visitor on Monday.
According to Michael Walton of the Traverse City Record-Eagle, around 9 a.m. a black bear lumbered onto school grounds.
The school’s principal, Chad Culver, was meeting with a teacher when he first spotted the bear.
"Literally out by the bike rack, which is about 20 feet from my window, was a black bear," Culver said
The bear prompted a 10-minute stay-in-place lockdown. Students were not allowed to leave the building. Shortly after the lockdown went into effect, the bear was spotted crossing U.S. 131 west of town.
The sighting was a first for the middle school and possibly one of the first in all of Mancelona.
"I don't think anyone I've talked to has seen one in town," Culver said.
That trend could change.
Rebecca Williams of Michigan Radio has reported on the increase of black bears in the Lower Peninsula.
While most Michigan black bears live in the Upper Peninsula, in recent years black bears have been moving south.
Wildlife biologists are hoping to understand more about how these bears travel by attaching radio collars to them.
Check out this video of a radio collar being replaced on a bear in Oceana County.
- Julia Field, Michigan Radio Newsroom
*Correction - an earlier post put the middle school in Traverse City. Mancelona is north of Kalkaska.