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Contact: For Media Inquiries, 406-888-5838
Contact: For Visitor Inquiries, 406-888-7800
UPDATE #2, August 20, 2018:
The Highline, Loop, and the closed portion of the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail have reopened.
Following a day of patrol yesterday, and a night of observations, no further bear sightings have occurred.
The trails remain posted for “bear frequenting,” meaning that recent repeated observations or confirmed reports of bear sign in short intervals exist in those areas. Visitors should exercise heightened situational awareness and watch for signs of bears on trails posted for bear frequenting.
Glacier is bear country and hikers should be prepared to encounter bears on trail at any time. Hikers should always carry bear spray, have it easily accessible on a hip or chest harness, and be comfortable using it.
The Granite Park Backcountry Campground remains closed.
To learn more about trails closed or posted for bears, visit the park's website.
UPDATE, August 19, 2019:
Today park rangers and a wildlife biologist spent the day patrolling the trails and developed area around Granite Park Chalet and the Granite Park Backcountry Campground.
They did not have any bear sightings, but did see significant evidence of bears foraging in multiple locations. Foraging indicators include things like scat, disturbed hillsides, and overturned rocks. The signs of foraging were dispersed over a wide area and no evidence was found of a specific carcass or other food source that the bears were protecting.
A park wildlife biologist will remain overnight at Granite Park Chalet to continue observing the area.
Following observations tonight, the park will reassess the temporary trail closure early Tuesday morning.
The public should continue to monitor the park's trail status webpage for the most current information about trail closures.
The Granite Park Backcountry Campground will likely remain closed at least through Wednesday night.
Guests planning to hike to Granite Park Chalet with reservations for tomorrow night should call the Granite Park Chalet Office at 888-345-2649 for more information and updates.
On Sunday, the park received three separate reports in quick succession of grizzly bears huffing, drooling, shaking heads, and walking visitors back off of trails. It is uncertain whether it was one bear or more.
Glacier National Park is home to both black and grizzly bears. Visitors should be prepared to encounter bears at all times, make noise along the trail, and always carry bear spray and know how to use it.
At this time of year, bears increase foraging activity in preparation for winter hibernation.
West Glacier, MT – Glacier National Park has temporarily closed access to the Granite Park area due to unusual grizzly bear activity.
The Highline, Loop, and Swiftcurrent Trail (from Swiftcurrent Pass to Granite Park Chalet) are all closed as of Sunday evening, meaning that access to the Granite Park area is not possible.
On Monday morning, park staff will hike to the area to observe bear behavior and conduct hazing activities as appropriate.
The Granite Park backcountry campsite will be closed to campers arriving Monday, August 19.
The park expects that the trails will be closed at minimum until park staff can evaluate the area on Monday, and may be closed an indeterminate period of time afterwards, depending on their findings.
Park staff who live in the Granite Park area have been monitoring grizzly bears frequenting the area and on Sunday received several first hand visitor reports of encounters with a bear or bears along the trail within the general area of the campground and the chalet. The bear or bears exhibited behavior consistent with being disturbed and frustrated by human presence. Bears can respond aggressively in defense of themselves, a food source, or cubs.
“We appreciate the public’s patience while we evaluate this situation,” said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “The park has a proactive bear management program, and we take reports of aggressive bear behavior very seriously.”
People can monitor trail status by visiting the park’s Trail Status webpage.
Guests planning to hike to Granite Park Chalet with reservations for tomorrow night should call the Granite Park Chalet Office at 888-345-2649 for more information and updates. The park does not expect that any trail status updates will be available before Monday afternoon.
People currently in the Granite Park region departing Monday morning will be permitted to hike out the Loop or Swiftcurrent Pass Trails, but not the Highline Trail.
The park will send an update to this press release when more information is available, likely Monday afternoon.
Last updated: August 20, 2019