Bears Emerging Press Release

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Bears Emerging Press Release

Postby llholmes1948 » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:11 pm

Here is a press release from the Park announcing the emergence of bears and other spring happenings:

Glacier National Park News Release

March 23, 2009
For Immediate Release
Amy Vanderbilt 406 888-5838

Perennial Sign of Spring: First Bear Sighting in Glacier National Park
Visitors reminded to be aware for emerging bears and other natural hazards

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – The first sign of spring in northwest Montana is
arguably the return of the Varied Thrush to pine forests and the Western
Meadow Lark to the valley floors, but for many, the perennial sign of
spring is the first sighting of a bear. With spring’s arrival, it is
fitting that two east side park employees observed a large, dark grizzly
bear Thursday, March 19, from a safe distance, as they walked along
Going-to-the-Sun Road near St. Mary Campground. So, people aren’t the
only ones getting out and about.

The beginning of spring coincides with the first emergence of bears from
their dens, both grizzly and black bears. Park Superintendent Chas
Cartwright remarked, “With this March sighting, park visitors are reminded
to be alert for bear activity and to be familiar with and comply with
safety regulations.”

Traditionally, males are the first to emerge, usually in mid-March; females
tend to emerge slightly later. Once they emerge, bears roam widely in
search of food, such as winter-killed animal carcasses, and will
aggressively protect a food source. Females will also fiercely defend their
cubs. In addition to grizzly bears, Glacier National Park is also home to
black bears.

Recreational visitors should travel in groups and make loud noise by
calling out and/or clapping their hands at frequent intervals, especially
near streams and at blind spots and curves on trails. These actions will
help avoid surprise encounters. Do not approach any wildlife; instead, use
binoculars, telescopes, or telephoto lenses to get closer looks.

Visitors are also reminded to keep food and other attractants stored in
hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes. 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.

Cartwright noted, “Bear pepper spray has proven to be a good last line of
defense for visitors who have familiarized themselves with its operation
and keep it immediately accessible for ready use as a deterrent. It is
critical that people do not develop a false sense of security by carrying
bear pepper spray. Visitors need to continue to take precautions to avoid
an encounter.”

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. This information helps park rangers keep bears away from
unnatural food sources, as well as prevents bears from becoming habituated
to humans.

Cartwright further noted, “While feeding of any wildlife is illegal in
Glacier National Park, this recent bear sighting also serves as a reminder
to park neighbors that the winter practice of feeding birds should be
suspended, as emerging bears in the spring can be attracted to bird feeders
as a food source.”

Although safety recommendations for foot travel while in bear country tend
to receive more attention, there are other natural hazards that
recreational users should be aware of and be prepared for when they venture
outdoors. Even though famed naturalist and conservationist John Muir once
said, "It is far safer to wander into God's woods than to travel on black
highways or to stay at home," Glacier National Park can be filled with many
potential dangers. “We want everyone to have a safe experience while they
visit and enjoy the park.” Go to the park’s web page at for details about:
Bears, Water, Wildlife, Mountain Lions and Watch Your Step.

Whether in Glacier National Park or elsewhere in the wilds of Montana,
people need to be aware of potential risks and be prepared with knowledge,
proper equipment and common sense to have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Although grizzly bears tend to grab headlines, water-related accidents are
the number one cause of accidental death at Glacier such as falling into
water from a slippery rock on stream bank. “These potential hazards are
not mentioned to scare people but rather to remind everyone to be prepared,
be familiar with their equipment and know their personal limitations.
Glacier National Park is a wonderland to explore and experience during each
of its many seasons, but we want park visitors to have a safe outing,”
concluded Cartwright.
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