Grizzly bears are out of their dens and roaming throughout Glacier National Park, according to park officials.
Recent observations of bear tracks in the snow indicate bears are emerging from hibernation and looking for food, according to an announcement from park officials.
The bears hibernate during the winter months and begin to emerge from dens when temperatures warm. The bears are hungry and looking for food, especially carcasses of winter-killed animals.
“Glacier National Park is bear country and park visitors should be alert for spring bear activity, and to be familiar with responsible actions to maintain human and bear safety,” Acting Glacier National Park Superintendent Kym Hall said.
Park managers are encouraging recreational visitors to travel in groups and make loud noise by calling out and/or clapping their hands at frequent intervals, especially near streams and blind spots and curves on trails. Visitors should not approach any wildlife and should maintain a minimum distance of 100 yards from any bear within the park.
Visitors are also reminded to keep food, garbage and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes when not in use. 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 personal property safe, park officials said.
“Glacier National Park is a special place and we hope that everyone has an enjoyable and safe visit,” Hall said.
Anyone recreating in bear country is highly encouraged to have bear spray. Proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for fending off threatening and attacking bears, and for preventing injury to the person and animal involved, according to the park. The bear spray should be readily accessible and the user should have knowledge on how to use it.
The carrying of firearms within national parks and wildlife refuges is allowed as consistent with state laws. Glacier National Park managers agree with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks’ statement: “If you are armed, use a firearm only as a last resort. Wounding a bear, even with a large caliber gun, can put you in far greater danger.”
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.
For more information about bears and how to recreate safely in Glacier National Park, visit here.
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