Glacier National Park Officials Complete Revisions to Bear Management Plan, Guidelines

Glacier National Park officials have completed revisions to their bear management plan with hopes of saving the lives of more bears. NPS photo.

Revisions to Glacier National Park's bear management plan have been finalized, carrying with them hopes that better preventive steps and public education will result in fewer bears having to be put down.

Some of the changes related directly in response to recommendations stemming from the killing of the "Oldman Lake" grizzly sow and one of her cubs

According to park officials, the revisions to their Bear Management Plan and Bear Management Guidelines collectively provide the ongoing basic framework for managing the park's black and grizzly bear populations with a focus on managing bear-human interactions through preventative measures such as proper food storage and garbage management and visitor education.

With more than 40 percent of the grizzly bear population of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem Recovery Area living within only 20 percent of the total land area, bear management in Glacier is a constant challenge, park officials said in a release. Changes include updates on policy and area management, clarified definitions, and the incorporation of many suggestions from employees, partners, peers and the public.

The revisions address the need for better clarity and consistency within the plan, park officials said in a release. Accordingly, the plan and guidelines went through multiple revisions to address both internal and external comments. These included clarifying a paragraph in the plan that some reviewers erroneously interpreted to imply that a permit was required to film rangers engaged in management activities and that the NPS owned the film. Language was also added to address proper safety etiquette and behavior while ilming bears.

“We feel that this review and subsequent revisions improve upon what we already felt were a good bear management plan and guidelines," said Glacier Superintendent Chas Cartwright. "We are grateful for the time and effort of all the people who read, reviewed and provided feedback on the plan and guidelines. These working documents contribute to the long-term conservation of this iconic species as well as provide for the benefit of park visitors, park staff and all those fortunate enough to live, work and play in the Crown of the Continent.”

You can view the updated Bear Management Plan and Bear Management Guidelines on Glacier’s website at http://www.nps.gov/glac/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm.

Comments

Part of improving the bear/human relationships should be enforcement of park rules. People feeding, stopping along the road in bear/wildlife crossings and violations of other posted rules should result in stiff fines. Rangers should be supported in enforcement of the rules rather that being afraid of upsetting "the public". Most of the people visiting would agree with this policy.