Glacier National Park Officials Urge Visitors to Be "Bear Aware"
At Glacier National Park, officials are urging visitors to be extra-cautious around bears. Two bear cubs have been killed by vehicles in the park already this year, and hikers continue to encounter bears in potentially dangerous circumstances.
The peak season at Glacier National Park brings increased encounters with animals on the roads and trails. Drivers need to be alert, since vehicle-animal collisions can kill or seriously injure both animals and motorists. Glacier is home to elk, moose, deer, bears, wolves, mountain lions, lynx, wolverines, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and other large mammals that may be encountered on roads as well as trails.
Encounters with bears are common in the park. Sadly, two bear cubs have died on the park roads this year. One was killed by a driver who immediately reported the incident. The other was found dead and had suffered injuries consist with being hit by a vehicle. Drivers are reminded to obey the park speed limits and drive with due regard for bears and other wildlife that may be on or near the roads.
Hikers and backpackers are particularly at risk of encountering bears under potentially dangerous circumstances. To minimize the risk of injury or death (and lethal consequences for the problem bears involved), all trail users are urged to heed the rules and guidelines pertaining to hiking and camping in bear country.
There are some standard safety procedures:
• Never travel alone or after dark.
• Make loud recurring noise when in bear country, especially near streams, brush, hilltops and blind curves.
• Keep children close and within sight.
• Always be aware of local surroundings.
• Remain observant and alert for evidence of bears and mountain lions and/or their activity.
• Do not approach any wildlife; use binoculars, telescopes, or telephoto lenses to get closer looks.
• Trail running is not recommended as it can lead to surprising bears at close range.
• Keep food and other attractants as inaccessible as practicable.
Responsible food handling is an absolute must. Food must be stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes. It is never to be left unattended in campgrounds or picnic areas. All garbage must be deposited in bear-resistant trash cans or dumpsters. Preventing bears from becoming conditioned to human food helps keep food, personal property, people, and bears safe.
For additional relevant information, visit the park's web page Bears, Mountain Lions, Wildlife, Water and Watch Your Step.