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Montana News

Glacier Park Employee Injured In Bear Encounter

Grizzly bear.
(PD)
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An off-duty Glacier National Park employee sustained non-life threatening injuries after surprising a bear in Glacier National Park's Swiftcurrent Valley Saturday evening.

An off-duty Glacier National Park employee sustained non-life threatening injuries after surprising a bear in the Swiftcurrent Valley Saturday evening.

The woman was picking huckleberries a quarter mile off the Swiftcurrent Pass trail near Red Rock Falls when she startled what park officials believe was a sow grizzly bear.

The bear reacted defensively, injuring the woman’s leg and hands. The woman was able to walk most of the trail back to Many Glacier before she was met by park rangers.

Glacier Park spokesperson Tim Rains says grizzly encounters have been up this year, matching the park’s high visitation.

"These surprise encounters can happen anywhere ... the quick response and knowing how to respond helped what make what could have been a lot worse, better," Rains said.

The woman was carrying bear spray but it was not deployed.

Park wildlife managers consider this a non-predatory, defensive attack and will not pursue the animal.

The last visitor injury by a grizzly bear in Glacier National Park was September 29 last year, when a 65-year-old man surprised a sow grizzly with two cubs.

The Swiftcurrent Pass trail was closed over the weekend but reopened today. The nearby trail leading to Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel remains closed due to bear activity.

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