KALISPELL, Mont - Officials just released the official investigation into the mauling death of U.S. Forest Service officer Brad Treat.
The report was compiled by a team of grizzly experts from northwest Montana. In it they discuss Treat's final moments and offer recommendations to protect others.
The report says Treat was biking on Outer Loop in the Green Gates Trails on June 29, 2016. It was a route familiar to Treat, who jogged the same trail every morning with his wife. Treat rounded a curve and crashed into a grizzly bear at an estimated speed of 20-25 mph. The absence of skid marks indicates Treat had only one to two seconds to take evasive action before crashing into the bear.
The report indicates reduced speed and an availability of bear spray might have changed the outcome.
Report team leader Chris Servheen told us Treat had no pepper spray at the time of the incident.
Since the incident, mountain biker Clay Lundgren says he always carries bear spray while biking in the backcountry.
"It was in response to the attack. I guess I had almost taken it for granted," Lundgren said.
Now the team that wrote the report is recommending signs at Forest Service trailheads for mountain bikers.
"It's just that we're seeing more and more mountain biking in bear habitat," said Servheen. "It's important to recognize mountain biking and mountain bikers do the things we ask them not to do."
The recommended warnings include:
- Be vigilant.
- Slow down.
- Carry bear spray.
- Make noise.
- Do not ride alone.
- Never ride at night or at dusk or dawn.
- Don’t think “It won’t happen to me.”
- Remember the bears live there and you are just a visitor.
Mountain bikers we talked to say trail signage might help.