Some visitors at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming are playing with fire by feeding bears. For now, park staff have temporarily closed the Signal Mountain Summit Road and surrounding area.
What species of bears were being feed by several visitors this past Tuesday evening wasn’t known, but park visitors and staff were bluff charged by a female grizzly with two cubs along the Signal Mountain Summit Road.
“Feeding wildlife is irresponsible, dangerous, and illegal, and we take these incidents very seriously,” said acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail. “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.”
If you have a video of visitors feeding bears, share it with National Parks Traveler at [email protected] or by attaching below as a comment.
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.
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.
Bears, both grizzlies and black, are extremely powerful and dangerous animals.
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, say park staff. 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.