Smithsonian Magazine on the Formation of the National Park’s Grizzly Bear Policy

Smithsonian Magazine has an article about the incidents leading up to the National Park Service’s treatment of grizzly bears. These incidents changed Park policy forever.

Glacier National Park’s busiest season came to an abrupt halt in the summer of 1967. In a matter of hours, two grizzly bears had acted as they never had before in the park’s 57-year history. Several miles apart, each bear had mauled a young woman on the same day, in the dark, early hours of August 13. Two 19-year-olds, Julie Helgeson, from Minnesota, and Michele Koons, from California, were both asleep under the big sky of northwest Montana, when grizzly bears found them and carried them off.

Detailed in National Park Service reports and Jack Olsen’s 1969 book Night of the Grizzlies, these incidents marked Glacier’s first fatal bear maulings. The shocking attacks ushered in a new era for the National Park Service’s management of bears. In Glacier Park and in other parks nationwide, the lessons of that summer live on in warning signs, rules and policies created to avoid repeating the mistakes that led to tragedy 50 years ago.
[Read Full Article Here]

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