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Glacier National Park trails reopen after "unusual" bear activity

Granite Park Backcountry Campground remains closed
Posted: 9:59 AM, Aug 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-20 23:24:00-04
Glacier National Park.jpeg

An area in Glacier National Park has reopened just days after increased bear activity prompted several trail closures.

The Highline, Loop, and the closed portion of the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail have reopened following a day patrol and a night of observations, according to park officials.

While no further bear sightings have occurred, the trails remain posted for "bear frequenting," meaning recent repeated observations or confirmed reports of bear signs in short intervals exist in those areas.

On Monday, park rangers and a wildlife biologist patrolled the trails and developed area around Granite Park Chalet and the Granite Park Backcountry Campground.

They did not have any bear sightings, but did see significant evidence of bears foraging in mulitple locations, according to a press release.

The Granite Park Backcountry Campground remains closed.

Visitors are asked to be aware and watch for signs of bears on trails. At this time of year, bears increase foraging activity in preparation for winter hibernation. Hikers are advised to carry bear spray, have it easily accessible, and be comfortable using it.

Click here to learn more about trail closures or posted for bears.

(August 18, 2019) Glacier National Park has temporarily closed access to the Granite Park area due to unusual grizzly bear activity, according to press release from park officials.

The Highline, Loop, and Swiftcurrent Trail (from Swiftcurrent Pass to Granite Park Chalet) are all closed as of Sunday evening, meaning that access to the Granite Park area is not possible.

On Monday morning, park staff will hike to the area to observe bear behavior and conduct hazing activities as appropriate.

The Granite Park backcountry campground will be closed to campers arriving Monday.

The park expects that the trails will be closed at minimum until park staff can evaluate the area on Monday, and may be closed an indeterminate period of time afterwards, depending on their findings.

Park staff who live in the Granite Park area have been monitoring grizzly bears frequenting the area and on Sunday received several first-hand visitor reports of encounters with a bear or bears along the trail within the general area of the campground and the chalet.

The bear or bears exhibited behavior consistent with being disturbed and frustrated by human presence, according to park officials. Bears can respond aggressively in defense of themselves, a food source, or cubs.

“We appreciate the public’s patience while we evaluate this situation,” said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “The park has a proactive bear management program, and we take reports of aggressive bear behavior very seriously.”

People can monitor trail status by visiting the park’s Trail Status [nps.gov] webpage.

Guests planning to hike to Granite Park Chalet with reservations for tomorrow night should call the Granite Park Chalet Office at 888-345-2649 for more information and updates. The park does not expect that any trail status updates will be available before Monday afternoon.

People currently in the Granite Park region departing Monday morning will be permitted to hike out the Loop or Swiftcurrent Pass Trails, but not the Highline Trail.