LIVINGSTON — Community members in Livingston are still trying to process their loss, days after Craig Clouatre hiked into the mountains near Sixmile Creek from a trailhead about 30 miles south of town and was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear.
“It’s kind of hard to imagine it yet. I don’t think for most of us it feels very real. It’s more like a long weekend and we haven’t seen him yet," said Bev Dawson, a Clouatre family friend.
Clouatre was out hiking with a friend on Thursday when the two separated temporarily and Clouatre never made it back to their designated meeting place. Search efforts were started that night, and on Friday, his body was found. Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler in a news release: "It appears he had an encounter with a grizzly and unfortunately did not survive."
Bev Dawson is a regular hiking partner with Craig’s wife Jamie, who is now responsible for raising the family’s four kids ranging in age from 14 to nine.
Other than being an avid outdoorsman who hiked hundreds of backcountry miles, Dawson said Clouatre was a force of positivity throughout the region delivering food to restaurants from Cooke City to Wilsall and all over Livingston for Sysco, before getting another food distribution job with Shamrock Foodservice more recently.
“His trademark would be his smile and the way he brought light to people. Always positive, even when things were in the dumps for him, he boosted the folks around him and that’s a huge thing to do without," Dawson said.
This isn’t the first time the Clouatre family has dealt with tragedy. The community rallied around the family in January 2020, when their Livingston home was demolished in a fire. They just moved into a new place about nine months ago.
“It’s really important that people remember them. Jamie is on her own now with those kids and she’s going to need a lot of help for a long time coming," Dawson said.
While the pain from the loss is still raw, Dawson said she hopes other people won’t be afraid to spend time outdoors.
“All of my people and Craig’s people are outdoor people. We’re going to continue to be out in the wilderness. It fuels us. It feeds us. It’s like air and you have to breathe it. I’m sure we’re all going to be extra loud in the woods and maybe we’ll curtail the places we go or going along. But I know it’s not going to stop anybody I know from going out," Dawson said.
While Craig worked, Jamie was able to stay at home and homeschool their four kids. Now, that might have to change, Dawson said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the Clouatres; click here if you would like to help. An account for cash and check donations has been set up at American Bank in Livingston. If you donate, make sure to note the money is for the Clouatre family.
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