October 21, 2012

Review of grizzly bear protocol expected soon

Grizzly bear and cub in the Shoshone National ...
Grizzly Bears

In a recent report from Montana’s The Missoulian, a protocol review was done in response to the increase of grizzly bear activities in the six national forests surrounding Yellowstone. Apparently, grizzly bear populations in Yellowstone National Park have expanded, prompting the supervisors of the national forests surrounding the park in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to take more precautions.
In 2010, a man was mauled in a Montana campground just outside Yellowstone’s northeast boundary. This prompted forest officials to undertake the review.

“The goal was initially to look at the causal factors that would put a campground at greater risk for grizzly bear incidents,” said Marna Daley, Gallatin National Forest public affairs officer. The review came into greater focus when two hikers in Yellowstone were killed by grizzly bears in the summer of 2011.

Female grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Pa...
Female grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Next month, the review is expected to be released after two years of studies at 166 developed campgrounds around Yellowstone.

The options available to the Forest Service vary widely. One of those options is to restrict campgrounds to hard-sided trailers and campers only. Another is to reduce the vegetation around campgrounds that bears can hide in. Campgrounds could be moved away from streams and rivers, which are migratory corridors for bears. Patrols at campgrounds could be stepped up by campground hosts. More information could be handed out or signs posted to educate the public. Campgrounds could also be organized to position hard-sided campers on the outside edges of the campground, sheltering the tent campers in the middle.

“There’s a level of risk you take when visiting a national forest,” said Kristie Salzmann, information officer for the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. “We can’t guarantee your safety at all times.”
Jokes on me:
Two campers are walking through the woods when a huge grizzly bear suddenly appears in the clearing about 50 feet in front of them.
The bear sees the campers and begins to head toward them.
The first guy drops his backpack, digs out a pair of sneakers, and frantically begins to put them on. The second guy says, "What are you doing? Sneakers won’t help you outrun that bear."
"I don't need to outrun the bear," the first guy says. "I just need to outrun you."

(As written in a previous post, in 2011 my family was camped near where and when a man was mauled to death by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. At the actual time it occurred, I was hiking about two miles away. The locality of the attack in relation to where my family was at the time has, strangely, peaked my interest in grizzly bears and any news involved with man’s interaction with the animals. As a result, there will be times when I need to occasionally indulge my fondness of the subject).
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