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Contact: Lauren Alley, 406-888-5838
West Glacier, MT – Effective immediately, Rising Sun Campground along the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of the park will temporarily be limited to hard-sided camping. This means that tents and soft-sided campers will not be permitted until further notice. Camper vehicles such as VW buses and pickup trucks with small canvas pop-ups are allowed as long as the canvas is not exposed.
On Friday afternoon, August 24th, an animal ripped into the side of a tent and pulled out bedding and pillows. Wildlife staff evaluated the campsite, obtained hair samples believed to be from a bear, and found an adult-sized scat pile in the area where the pillows were found. There were no known attractants or food rewards in the tent.
Park staff have observed transient bear activity in the Rising Sun Campground for approximately the past two weeks. Berries are abundant, and the cliffs above the campground are a known wildlife corridor.
Because there were no witnesses to this incident the park cannot determine which bear or bears are responsible, and therefore cannot make a determination about whether the actions were due to habituation, food-conditioning, or curiosity. The park has placed a decoy tent and game camera in the campground area to monitor further activity. No attractants will be placed in the decoy tent.
Glacier National Park has a proactive bear management program that seeks to prevent bear/human conflicts through public education, bear-wise waste management, aggressive enforcement of food storage regulations, and application of hazing and aversive conditioning techniques to teach bears to avoid humans and developed areas.
Visitors and residents are urged to learn more about the importance of food storage while living and recreating in bear country for bear and human safety. Once bears have successfully obtained unnatural food from people or become accustomed to foraging in developed areas, it is very difficult to change their behavior to return to wild areas and natural food sources. Once bears receive a human food reward, they often become a safety hazard, becoming increasingly aggressive seeking out and obtaining subsequent food rewards.