Bear Attacks NPS Employee Near Many Glacier

Woman was picking berries near Red Rock Falls when she reportedly startled bear

By Justin Franz
A view of Bullhead Lake after crossing Swiftcurrent Pass in Glacier National Park. Dillon Tabish | Flathead Beacon

An off-duty National Park Service employee sustained non-life-threatening injuries on Aug. 27 after a bear attacked her along a trail in the Many Glacier area.

The woman, who has not been identified, was picking berries off the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail near Red Rocks Falls when she reportedly startled a sow, according to Glacier National Park spokesperson Tim Rains.

The woman sustained injuries to her legs and hands. Some other hikers saw the attack and summoned help. The woman was able to hike partway back to Many Glacier before meeting rangers who helped her the rest of the way.

The incident remains under investigation. Officials believe the bear was a grizzly.

The woman was carrying bear spray at the time of the incident but it was not deployed.

The woman was taken to the hospital in Browning and later to Kalispell, where she is still recovering from her injuries.

The Swiftcurrent Pass Trail remains closed at this time. The Iceberg and Ptarmigan trails in the Many Glacier area are also closed due to bear activity.

Grizzly bear attacks are rare in the Glacier region but they do occur. Since Glacier National Park was created in 1910, there have been 10 fatal grizzly attacks in the national park, the most recent in May 1998 when a 26-year-old man was killed hiking in the Upper Two Medicine Valley.

The last time a visitor was attacked in Glacier Park was in September 2015, when a 65-year-old man surprised a grizzly bear while hiking.

In June, U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer Brad Treat, 38, was mountain biking on Flathead National Forest land near West Glacier when he was killed by a grizzly bear.

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