Yesterday marked the Yellowstone region’s third fatal grizzly bear attack in a year.
AS I WAS SETTING up my tent at a basic campground outside Gardiner, MT, last summer, buzz was still hot and anxiety high (among visitors, not so much locals) over the recent grizzly attack in Cooke City, about 50 miles due east. A bear had wandered into a campground and attacked three people, killing one.
The month before that, a different bear was responsible for the death of a hiker just east of Yellowstone park boundaries.
Now, another fatality has been reported, this time on a trail inside the park. On July 6, a man and his wife were hiking near Canyon Village when they startled a mother and her cubs. The bear charged, the man told his wife to run, and he was killed.
There are an estimated 600-1,000 grizzlies inhabiting the Yellowstone area. At the same time, a record 3.6 million people visited the park in 2010. Encounters are bound to happen.
As a hiker, your safety is your responsibility. Stay on marked trails, and never hike alone. Attach a bear bell to your pack or clothes to avoid a surprise point-blank run-in.
And carry bear spray. A $30 can could save your life.