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]


Man Dies After a Fall in Glacier National Park: UPDATED 7/24

A man died after a fall in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley says the man died after falling approximately 100 feet near Haystack Creek off the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The incident happened on Saturday evening.

The name of the man has not yet been released.
[Local News Story]

UPDATED: 7/24/17

Park officials said in a statement Monday that 26-year-old Robert Durbin of Corvallis died Saturday.

They say Durbin was taking photos along Haystack Creek next to the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is known for its dramatic scenery and vertigo-inducing heights.

He fell into the creek and was washed through a culvert that goes beneath the road and empties into a 100-foot drop down a cliff.

The popular road was closed to traffic for about an hour while rangers and rescuers found and recovered the man’s body.

Glacier officials say the death isn’t considered suspicious. Falls are a leading cause of death in the park.
[Local News Story]

Madeline Connelly, Lost Hiker, Found Outside Glacier National Park

A woman missing for six nights with only overalls, a sweater and her dog in the remote wilderness near Glacier Park was found alive Wednesday.

Madeline Connelly, 23, was reunited with her family after surviving close to a week without food and drinking only from streams in the Great Bear Wilderness.

The woman, originally from the Chicago area, was reported missing last week after she left for a hike outside of Essex with her dog. She was in Montana visiting family and is reportedly an experienced hiker.

Connelly reunited with her family.

Connelly said she only had a sweater and overalls with her but was able to survive by drinking from creeks and finding shelter under trees.

“Under trees sleeping, and then I was hiking about ten miles a day,” she said. “I had my dog with me. We rested for about two days because I just couldn’t move one day. It kind of snowed.”

She said, “The first night I realized I was not in the right place, but I thought if I kept going I would be on the same loop of a trail and I would just get out. Then I ended up on a lake and I was like, ‘This is not right.'” [News Story]

She was right: it was not right! When she was found, she asked if she could hike out with the rescue team. They said no and airlifted her out. Besides being hungry and tired, she had no injuries.

Nice when something like this turns out to just be a cool adventure!