A Kalispell woman escaped serious injury after crashing into a grizzly bear while trail running on Huckleberry Lookout Trail in Glacier National Park on the morning of Saturday, July 11.
The woman was the lead runner in a pack of three on the 6-mile trail off Camas Road, west of Lake McDonald. The group was about four miles from the trailhead when the woman, who is in her 30s, collided with what park officials believe was a young grizzly bear. The woman and the bear tumbled together off the trail and when they separated, the bear ran away. The woman sustained minor injuries to the head and arm, and was able to walk back to the trailhead.
Rangers investigating the incident determined it was a surprise encounter and, as such, no additional action will be taken. The trail remains open although signs warning of recent bear activity have been posted.
In a press release announcing the encounter, officials warned that trail running within park boundaries is dangerous because runners, by traveling quickly and more quietly, have a greater chance of surprising a bear. Park officials added they “discourage trail running in order to protect the public and the bears.”
In order to minimize the chances of a dangerous bear encounter, all visitors to Glacier National Park are encouraged to hike in groups, make a lot of noise and carry bear spray. More information is available at nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/bears.htm.
Before Saturday, the last injury caused by a grizzly bear in Glacier Park was in August 2016 when an off-duty park employee startled a bear while picking huckleberries in the Swiftcurrent Valley. That incident also resulted in minor injuries.