Tourists hoping to hike the spectacular Highline Trail in Glacier National Park will have to wait after park staff closed off the trail due to grizzly activity.
According to Glacier spokesperson Tim Rains, crews closed the trail on Friday, Aug. 19 after people discovered a sow grizzly and her two cubs nearby.
A mountain goat carcass about 50 yards from the trail, roughly a mile from Logan Pass has attracted the griz family, Rains said.
Rains said a visitor reported smelling something rotten on the trail on Aug. 18, but nothing was seen until a ranger-led hike the next day when the sow and cubs were at work on the carcass.
Rangers determined the best course of action was to close the trail.
Visitors were escorted out of the area down both sides of the trail, Rains said, and a crew is headed up the trail on Monday, Aug. 22 to check on the status of the carcass and subsequently the bears.
The trail will not reopen until the carcass is dealt with naturally, Rains said. Since the bears were already feeding on the goat when they were noticed, they are left alone and human activity shifts around them, per the park’s bear management plan.
The Highline closure puts extra pressure on an already stressed tourist pressure point at Logan Pass. Glacier continues to set visitation records this year, with numbers up 13.8 percent so far in 2016 with more than 1.5 million people touring the park through the end of July.