Transient bear activity had been observed by park staff in Glacier National Park’s Rising Sun Campground over the past two weeks as berries are abundant and the cliffs above the campground are a known wildlife corridor. But on Aug. 24, a bear entered the campground and ripped into the side of a tent and pulled out bedding and pillows, reports the Daily Inter Lake.
The campground along Going-to-the-Sun Road on the park’s east side is therefore temporarily limited to hard-sided camping – meaning that tents and soft-sided campers will not be allowed until further notice – though camper vehicles such as VW buses and pickup trucks with small canvas pop-ups are allowed as long as the canvas is not exposed.
Wildlife staff evaluated the campsite, obtained hair samples believed to be from a bear, and found an adult-sized scat pile in the area where the pillows were found. There were no known attractants or food in the tent.
“Because there were no witnesses to this incident the park cannot determine which bear or bears are responsible, and therefore cannot make a determination about whether the actions were due to habituation, food-conditioning, or curiosity,” the park stated in a press release. Or perhaps to get a better night’s sleep.
The park placed a decoy tent and game camera in the campground area to monitor activity. No attractants will be placed in the decoy tent.
In June, the park enacted similar camping restrictions at Many Glacier Campground after a small grizzly bear entered the campground and compelled two campers to move away from a picnic table where they were cleaning two recently caught trout. The restrictions were lifted in mid-July.
Visitors are urged to learn more about the importance of food storage while recreating in bear country for bear and human safety.