Visitors Reminded to be Aware for Emerging Bears
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – With spring’s arrival, people aren’t the only ones getting out and exploring Glacier National Park- spring also coincides with the time that bears are beginning to emerge from their dens. Grizzly bear tracks have already been observed on the road in Many Glacier. Visitors are reminded to be alert for bear activity and to obey safety regulations.
Recreating visitors should travel in groups and make noise by calling out or clapping at frequent intervals, especially near streams and at blind spots on trails. These actions will help avoid surprise encounters. Do not approach any wildlife; instead, use binoculars, telescopes, or telephoto lenses to get closer looks.
Visitors are also reminded to keep food and other odorous attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes. Garbage must be deposited into a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. These actions help keep bears from becoming conditioned to human food, and help keep park visitors and their property safe.
In addition to grizzly bears, Glacier National Park is also home to black bears. Traditionally, males are the first to emerge, usually in mid-March; females tend to emerge slightly later. Once they emerge, bears roam widely in search of food, and will aggressively protect their food source. Females will also fiercely defend their cubs.
Bear pepper spray has proven to be a good last line of defense for visitors who have familiarized themselves with its operation and keep it immediately accessible. It is critical that people do not develop a false sense of security by carrying bear pepper spray. Visitors need to continue to take precautions to avoid an encounter.
Visitors should report any bear sightings or signs of bear activity to the nearest visitor center, ranger station or by calling 406-888-7800 as soon as possible. This information helps park rangers keep bears away from unnatural food sources, as well as prevents bears from becoming habituated to humans.
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Did You Know?
Grizzly bears in the park have a wide variety of food sources, including glacier lily bulbs, insects, and berries. They may also make an early season meal of mountain goats that were swept down in avalanches over the winter.