Rising Sun Campground Restricted to Hard-Sided Camping After Black Bear Activity

Glacier National Park officials closed Rising Sun Picnic Area due to persistent bear activity

By Tristan Scott
Glacier National Park. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Glacier National Park officials implemented a temporary ban on tents and soft-sided campers at Rising Sun Campground due to black bear activity.

That means that only hard-sided camper vehicles are allowed at the popular campground along the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of the park until further notice.

On Aug. 20 a black bear clawed and shook a tent, and entered the rainfly vestibule. There were no known attractants or food rewards in the tent. The tent was not occupied.

Berries are abundant at this time of year in Glacier Park and the cliffs above Rising Sun Campground serve as a heavily trafficked wildlife corridor.

The bear appeared similar to one that found an abandoned picnic near St. Mary Lake on Aug. 19. It was only minimally responsive to hazing efforts and the park is attempting to capture the bear for further management action.

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, park officials noted. Bears that have received a human food reward often become a safety hazard, becoming increasingly aggressive seeking out and obtaining subsequent food rewards.

Glacier National Park has a proactive bear management program that seeks to prevent conflicts between bears and humans 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.