WEST GLACIER, Mont. - The following is a press release from Glacier National Park:
Recent bear incidents at the Rising Sun Campground, located on the east of the park, have prompted the temporary closure of the campground. Early Monday morning the upper loop of the campground was closed, and the lower loop was only open to hard-sided camping. As of Tuesday, August 6, the entire campground will be closed to all camping. All campers are being provided an opportunity to relocate to another campground within the park.
Early Sunday morning a bear, believed to be a small sub-adult black bear, approached and laid on a corner of a tent that was occupied by sleeping campers. The campers awoke and started yelling, and observed a black bear running from the tent. There have been two other incidents in the campground and surrounding area within the past month, all believed to be with the same bear. One incident involved the bear snatching a pillow from a sleeping camper, and the other incident involved the bear going through some clothing that was located along the lakeshore. The incidents included no injuries.
It appears that the bear is not looking for a food reward, or that it has received one, but it is learning to approach and handle human materials. Park rangers and wildlife managers will conduct aversive conditioning, or negative reinforcement, to attempt to modify the bear's behavior. This will include trapping the bear, tagging the bear, and conducting hazing techniques using bean bags, rubber bullets, and/or noise stimulus. It is anticipated that these conditioning actions may take a few days.
A grizzly bear has recently been sighted in the area as well. Since a trap will be used, and it may trap the grizzly bear, the entire campground will be temporarily closed for visitor and bear safety.
The nightly Rising Sun Campground Programs will be moved to the St. Mary Campground during this temporary closure. Visitors for the program that are not camping at the St. Mary Campground are encouraged to park at the St. Mary Visitor Center and walk a short distance across the footbridge for the program.
The Rising Sun Campground has 83 sites and is a first-come first-serve facility. It is unknown the duration of the campground closure. For updated information about access, please visit the park's campground status page at http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/cgstatus/cgstatus.cfm or contact the park at 406-888-7800.