Visitors feeding bears leads to partial closure at Grand Teton National Park
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The following is a news release from Grand Teton National Park.
MOOSE, Wyoming — The Signal Mountain Summit Road and area in Grand Teton National Park have been temporarily closed due to reports of visitors feeding bears, and bears bluff charging park visitors and staff. A bluff charge is a false charge made by an animal as a threat.
Park rangers received reports that multiple visitors were feeding bears on Signal Mountain Summit Road on Tuesday evening, August 13. It is unknown what type of bear was being fed.
“Feeding wildlife is irresponsible, dangerous and illegal, and we take these incidents very seriously,” Grand Teton National Park Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said. “Please share any information about the feeding of wildlife immediately to a nearby park ranger, visitor center, or by calling Park Watch at (307) 739-3677.”
On the same night, park visitors and staff were bluff charged by a female grizzly with two cubs along the Signal Mountain Summit Road.
Bears are protective of their feeding areas, which include ripening berry patches. All visitors are required to maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from bears and always carry bear spray, as well as make noise and travel in groups.
Never feed bears. Bears that obtain human food may lose their natural fear of humans and become dependent on human food. As a result, they may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed. The maximum penalty for feeding park wildlife is a $5,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
Every visitor who comes to Grand Teton has the unique opportunity to view bears in their natural habitat. With that opportunity comes the responsibility to protect themselves and the bears. It is up to everyone to keep bears wild and alive. Please report any bear activity or human-bear interactions to a nearby park ranger or visitor center.
The proper storage of food items and responsible picnicking are vitally important in bear country. Picnickers should only have immediate use items out so that if a bear approaches, food items can be quickly gathered and the opportunity for the bear to receive a food reward is removed. Visitors should store food and scented items in bear-resistant food lockers that are located throughout the park or in a hard-sided vehicle. Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter in campsites.
Grizzly and black bears thrive in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller Jr., Memorial Parkway. Visitors may encounter a bear anywhere and at any time. Some of the most popular areas and trails pass through excellent bear habitat.
Park visitors should follow regulations related to human and wildlife safety. For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/bear_safety17-access.pdf.