PATTON TOWNSHIP — Lois and Bob Voigt’s home became a tourist stop Sunday, thanks to a surprise visitor in their Park Forest neighborhood.
A black bear spent the day high in a tree behind the Voigts’ home on Exeter Court, and Lois Voigt welcomed visitors into their house, even up to the second floor, to get a closer look.
“We made a lot of friends today,” she said. “We had people up here we’d never met before.
“We’ve been telling people viewing is free today. We don’t charge on Sundays.”
Monday morning, Lois Voigt reported that the bear was gone.
“The bear safely descended last evening after about 12 hours up there,” she said Monday. “I’m so glad he was able to descend safely.”
Patton Township police officers came for a look Sunday, and advised neighbors to keep their pets in for the day and to not put their garbage out in the evening, Voigt said.
“I’m taking my bird feeder in tonight,” neighbor Cindy Roycroft said in the Voigts’ second-floor viewing area.
Another visitor was the Rev. Steve Lynn, Bob and Lois Voigt’s pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in State College. He used binoculars for a better view of the bruin.
“I just hope the bear comes down on his own,” Lynn said. “To have him be anesthetized and fall that far would not be good.”
Brad Wyble, who lives beside the Voigts, was the first to see the bear early Sunday morning. Well, actually, he was second. Wyble was walking his dog in his fenced-in back yard when ...
“The dog started barking,” Wyble said. “I expected it to be a squirrel or a cat. But then I saw the bear skittering up the tree.”
Wyble said the bear climbed “in stages” to the tree’s highest crook.
“The first run, he got about 20 feet up,” Wyble said. “You could hear him huffing and puffing. Then he went on up.”
And on up is where the bear was late Sunday, with Lois Voigt hoping the animal would come down on its own and slip away in the night.
“Bears wander through our neighborhood fairly often,” she said, then looked out the window at the animal perched in her tree.
“It’s our chance to be up close and personal with nature,” Voigt said.