Given space, future looks good for grizzlies

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Here’s a good piece by Chris Peterson of the Hungry Horse News on the progress in grizzly bear management over the last few decades . . .

While tragic, Glacier Park’s Night of the Grizzlies did much to change grizzly bear and human backcountry use. “It was a lightning rod to the core of the Park Service,” said Glacier Park biologist John Waller.

While the Wilderness Act had been passed three years before that tragic night in 1967, there was no Leave No Trace ethic — leaving or burying garbage was common in bear country. Even Roy Ducat and July Helgeson buried the remains of their sandwiches before they camped for the night, a Hungry Horse News story noted.

Philosophy toward bear management changed quickly after the incident. Grizzlies were not nearly as common in Glacier in the late 1960s as they are today. They also weren’t protected, Waller said. The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 and grizzlies were listed as threatened in 1975.

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