A West Glacier mountain bicyclist was killed Wednesday afternoon by a grizzly bear near West Glacier.
Brad Treat, 38, a career law-enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service, died when the grizzly attacked him on a trail, according to Sheriff Chuck Curry.
A small army of armed officers searched for the bear Wednesday evening. The grizzly had not been located as of 9 p.m.
Treat had been bicycling with a friend on the popular trail system in the Green Gate area north of the KOA campground off of U.S. 2.
The grizzly apparently confronted the bicyclists on the trail shortly after 2 p.m.
“It appears they likely surprised the bear and Treat was taken off his bike by the bear,” Curry said in a news release.
The second rider was not attacked or injured and rode back to get help. Treat was pronounced dead at the scene.
The first call for emergency responders came in around 3 p.m. Treat’s body was found shortly after 4 p.m. and was transported by the Two Bear Air Rescue helicopter.
The helicopter crew later spotted a grizzly bear in a marsh near the scene of the fatal mauling.
The incident attracted a substantial response, including Coram/West Glacier Fire Department, Three Rivers Ambulance, North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The incident is under investigation by the Wildlife Human Attack Response Team of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Forest Service and the Sheriff’s Office.
The Half Moon Lake/Green Gate area has been closed by the Forest Service for public safety pending completion of the investigation.
“Brad was an integral member of our area law enforcement team and a friend to us all,” Curry said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight.”
Chris Peterson of the Hungry Horse News contributed to this story.